Gruening Middle students join Chugiak High at 'The Ranch' after quake damage

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CHUGIAK, Alaska (KTUU) - It’s a new start for Gruening Middle School students after their school was damaged during the November 30 earthquake.

It’s like the first day of school all over again-- only it’s December, it’s snowing and, they’re getting ready for winter break. But for the Gruening Middle School students at Chugiak High School for the first time Tuesday, it’s a whole new experience.

Chugiak High School ambassadors toured all 600 Gruening Middle School students around their new daytime home for the rest of the school year.

The high school students put up maps and reference posters to make sure the younger kids have an easy transition.

Teachers from both schools packed up and moved classrooms over the weekend to get ready for the influx of students on Tuesday and superintendent Deena Bishop says the transition was an in-depth and lengthy process.

"It was a detailed and very complicated process. Essentially we were moving an entire school. What folks might see is that we moved classrooms over but essentially we were changing schedules and ensuring that all of the services that were offered at the prior school are offered here," Bishop said.

The younger students say it was a bit nerve-wracking transitioning into a new school with older kids, but they are happy to have a new school to call home.

“I was kind of nervous but after I felt kind of better because that was kind of how I felt when I was going to middle school," said Corrina Mattair, a Gruening Middle 7th-grader.

“It was a little bit of a bittersweet reaction. I was kind of excited then sad and nervous, but mostly excited," said Emily Cooliey, also a Gruening 7th-grader.

The teachers are calling the combination Chugiak Mustangs and Gruening Colts school "The Ranch" to encompass both schools into their new home.

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