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Hurricane Dorian left Ocracoke students without school, supplies; students have yet to return to school

The hurricane destroyed the school, gym, playground and classrooms.

OCRACOKE, N.C. — Hurricane Dorian flew in and out for some communities, others are still feeling the impact. 

On Ocracoke Island, homes and businesses were destroyed, and the local school was flooded.

Students have missed one month of classes, and the school is in no shape for their return. The Ocracoke school is for all kids on the island with 174 pre-K through 12th-grade students.

When Dorian hit, the storm destroyed the classrooms, school supplies, the gym and the playground, leaving students with nothing to come back to. Principal Leslie Cole said that the school is unrecognizable inside.

“It doesn’t look like the school I know and love, which normally right now this should be a fun and learning and happy and loving space for our kids. And just with the walls torn out, it looks like an empty, hollow building,” said Cole.

"There’s pre-Dorian life and post-Dorian life, and so this is just one small part of that, and the whole community is kind of turned upside down. It’s a great school, great community, great kids, great teachers, that’s all gone and that’s kind of what Dorian took away,” said Cole.

The building was hit by 40 inches of water in some areas; therefore, there are holes in the flood and walls no longer exist in most classrooms. Hyde County Public Schools Superintendent Steve Basnight said that there’s now a pile outside of the school where desks, carpet, and school supplies are just piled debris now.

“That’s because anything from a foot to two feet down all to the flood line, was soaked with water. You’re looking at the school, the building itself has been dramatically affected, every student that goes to school here, their homes have been dramatically affected,” said Basnight. 

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But Basnight said that even in the devastation, the students stayed strong and followed in the footsteps of their community.

There were literally people that left their own homes in shambles to go next door to help their neighbor or walk down the street to find somebody to help, and the kids were no different. They were out walking around the island asking ‘do you need help.’ Working all day long, sun up to sundown,” said Basnight.

Students are set to have classes at satellite locations on Wednesday, but it's unclear when construction crews will finish rebuilding. Principal Cole said that right now she’s just thankful for her resilient community and those who are able to donate.

“That is Ocracoke. It’s the people here, that’s the character that they have and I couldn’t be more proud to live here, in terms of how everyone has rallied and helped and supported,” said Cole.

If you want to help, school officials said that there is no physical location to put items until the school is rebuilt. So, Hyde County Public Schools is accepting financial donations and they promise each donation will go toward rebuilding Ocracoke School.

Please send all donations to:
Hyde County Schools
Ocracoke School Donation
PO Box 217
Swan Quarter, NC 27885