Christie Helps Reopen Beach Haven Elementary School

Every student has returned to Beach Haven school as a new year begins, principal says

More than ten months after being devastated by Superstorm Sandy, every one of the students at Beach Haven Elementary School were able to come home Wednesday – the start of a new school year and, for many in the community, a sign of Long Beach Island's comeback.

Though Sandy's wrath left the school closed for the remainder of the 2012-13 school year, the 101-year-old building on North Beach Avenue was as resilient as the island community it serves. When the weather turns chilly this year, students will be warmed up by its original boiler, installed in 1912, said Superintendent and Principal Eva Marie Raleigh.

"The students were ecstatic" to come back to their school, said Raleigh. "Not everyone is back in their homes, two families are still out of their homes, but all the students are back."

Gov. Chris Christie and state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf toured the school Wednesday morning, both reiterating that one of their top priorities, even during the first days after Sandy hit, was to get students back to their local schools.

Beach Haven students had been going to school in Eagleswood Township, on the mainland, since the storm struck.

"On the day after, when I got my first briefing about how bad everything was across the state ... one of top five factors I set up to return the state back to normalcy was reopening schools," said Christie. "It makes children's lives more normal and parents' lives more bearable."

Though the century-old boiler survived, the school needed significant repairs prior to students returning, school officials said.

All of the school's floors, ceilings, and its main office needed to be replaced, said Raleigh, as well as the gym floor and the entire building's electrical system.

The Beach Haven school is one of three on the island, and the only school in the Beach Haven district. The other two schools, one of which has reopened, are part of the Long Beach Island Consolidated School District.

The LBI Grade School in Ship Bottom is not expected to reopen until March 2014, said Christie. In the mean time, students are being taught in trailers set up on the grounds of Ethel A. Jacobsen Elementary School in Surf City.

Daniel Nee September 04, 2013 at 06:08 PM
Mac - The governor did come by helicopter today. He landed in Beach Haven and rode a few blocks in an SUV to the school. The gas leak and resulting road closures on the mainland last night had nothing to do with this visit.
Mac September 04, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Thanks Dan, I know. This comment was designed to be a play on a comment from several months ago. I probably should have sat on this one for awhile longer and then deleted it. While I'm sure Beach Haven is happy to have its school back and have the Governor visit, I'm not happy this event is being used as a campaign stop for the Governor. If it had really been about the school children and their plights, he would have taken all of them for a helicopter ride over the island. There aren't that many of them and he is the Governor. Now that would have been a special occasion celebration.
Proud Pappa September 04, 2013 at 08:06 PM
Heard Christie was upset because the kids only had a 1/2 day.. NO FREE LUNCH!!


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