Rival school district hosts displaced West students

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by MARCUS MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @MarcusMoorewfaa

WFAA

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 7 at 10:46 PM

West Middle and High School students will complete their school year at a campus located in district rival Connally ISD. 

Wednesday's explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. left two of West ISD's campuses severely damaged and outright destroyed the West Intermediate School, located about a half mile from the exploded plant. Fourteen people died and more than 200 were injured, officials say. 

In a quick show of support Monday, students at rival Connally turned a vacant campus near the high school into a location specifically for the displaced West students.

"I'm getting a little emotional to see them, because I'm so glad to see my babies this morning," said Dr. Jan Hungate, assistant superintendent at the West Independent School District. 

She watched as the district's more than 500 middle and high school students filed into the once vacant Connally ISD school building, which has been transformed. 

Welcome signs, ribbons and supplies helped sideline the two's longstanding sports rivalry. 

"It warms your heart," Connally ISD spokesman Wesley Hold said.  "It just warms your heart that people would come together to get this done."

It is an unprecedented effort, with school districts from across the state reaching out with helping hands. Many of the buses that delivered West students to Connally were from Spring ISD, a suburban district located outside Houston.

"I think it's going to be a good experience for everybody involved, to see how people just pull together, come together to accomplish one goal," Holt said.

The impact is already being felt by students like senior Christopher McCaig.

"The students have their conflicts, sports and all of that jazz, but when this happened all of the sudden the schools were our best friends," McCaig said.  "There's so much love coming on us."

While the students will complete their year at Connally, it's unclear what will happen the following year.

Email mmoore@wfaa.com

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