GALVESTON, Texas – For five years, Burnet Elementary School has been boarded up, a symbol of Hurricane Ike’s impact on the Galveston Independent School District. Memories are entombed within its barren walls.
“When I look out I see Davion sitting over there crying that he can’t do something and me walking over and encouraging him,” Margie Kusnerik, a teacher, said. “…My principal always wore heels. So I hear her heels clicking down the hallway.”
Kisnerick taught kindergarten in this very room for 17 years. It was her first job out of college.
“Sometimes we took them home with us in their hearts and in our minds,” she said. “It was just my second family.”
Students felt the same way.
“It’s the goodest school ever,” Waylin Walker Wells said back in 2009. “I will be sad forever.”
Now, Waylin is in the seventh grade.
“It kind of did make me sad, because all my friends were there, and now most of my friends, I don’t even know where they are,” he said Thursday.
Hurricane Ike inflicted $44 million in damage to GISD, forcing the district to close four schools indefinitely, Burnet among them.
It is the last of those four schools to be rebuilt thanks to the recent approval of $5 million in FEMA funding.
“This particular campus is slated to open in the fall of 2014, so we’re very excited about Burnet elementary coming back online,” Dyann Polzin, a GISD official, said.
“And I know now we’re starting to thrive,” Kusnerik said.
And soon she says a family here will again thrive.