Year 9 students of Lelean Memorial School in Nausori have been advised to stay home today after a fire destroyed their classroom block yesterday afternoon.
The classroom block, which had five classrooms, were occupied by 200 year nine students from classes 901, 902, 903, 904 and 905.
The school’s vice-principal, Marika Sovaki, said at 4pm all students had vacated the school for home and their boarding rooms while some teachers were still around. It was around 4.40pm when the fire broke out.
He said this was first spotted by two hostel students who initially saw smoke coming from one of the classrooms.
“It most probably started from an electrical fault and by the time we arrived at the scene, fire had already started. It is an old building and due to the state of the building and the strong winds the fire spread quickly. We could not do much,” Mr Sovaki said.
Mr Sovaki confirmed no one was injured and when he arrived at the scene his first thoughts were the students. He said he was also concerned with the students’ notes which were still in the classroom as exams were to begin next week.
“The whole building was engulfed in flames, I was just thinking of the students, some had their notes in their desks. Preparations for exams had begun and this happened at the wrong time” he said.
He said the school block could be close to 40 years old and held sentimental values to most of the old scholars.
However, Mr Sovaki said they would need to put their heads together and unite as Leleans. He said they would work towards preparing another set of classrooms for the Year 9 students before annual examinations start on Monday.
Mr Sovaki said the Academy students’ classrooms would now be used by the Year 9 for the end of this school term and exams.
“The Academy block has five classrooms and will be suitable for the year nine students. By tomorrow (today) we will be organising these classrooms and hopefully the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders will be donating some desks and chairs for the students.
“We hope by Monday next week all will be ready for Year 9 exams. We are just asking parents and stakeholders to be with us in this time and I believe things like this challenge our work as teachers and parents especially when we are focused on the examinations next week”.
Mr Sovaki has called on parents not to send Year 9 students to school today and get them prepared for their exams.
“This is just something that will probably hold us together. So that our students’ future will not be affected and we will all achieve our target for the year.
“Even though this has happened, everything will run smoothly but we are asking parents to heed our requests and send their children to school on Monday for their first paper. Things will be positive as we go on from here.”
Mr Sovaki has also requested parents and stakeholders to keep the students and the school in their prayers and continue to support them during this difficult time.
“It is something that we hope will bind us stronger as a Lelean team and to continue with our target this year despite these things happening in the school.”