The reopening ceremony of the school in Juchitán. The reopening ceremony of the school in Juchitán.

‘We are still standing:’ Oaxaca school opens

Mexican Army rebuilt historic school destroyed in September earthquake

An emblematic primary school in Juchitán, Oaxaca, has risen from the wreckage of the September 7 earthquake due to the efforts of the Mexican Army.

The Centro Escolar Juchitán was one of hundreds buildings that fell in the powerful earthquake and what was left standing of the historic building was so severely damaged that it had to be torn down.

The army has completed construction of a brand new 36-classroom school that followed the original plans but used anti-seismic materials and construction techniques this time around.

One of the largest schools in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, with an enrollment of 826 students and 35 teachers, the Centro Escolar reopened this week after seven months of classes in temporary installations.

A mural adorns the walls of the new school, extolling the history and culture of Juchitán alongside the solidarity of its people who, one day at a time, have overcome the tragedy of the earthquake.

“We are still standing and I think that’s what is the most important, because we can show the children that after a tragedy there is still hope . . .” said principal Gloria Pérez Sánchez, adding that “today we can once again welcome each one of the children of Juchitán with open arms.”

The old building was a military barracks until 1938 when it was converted to a school.

During the celebration of the school’s 75th anniversary, Juchitán native and Zapotec poet Irma Pineda Santiago wrote that “replacing a space for weapons of war with a center of wisdom and knowledge signifed making way for a small spark that today has become a great, shining light.”

Source: Milenio (sp), El Imparcial (sp)

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