Last month’s fast-moving fire scorched more than 9,000 acres in northeast Orange County — and generated countless subplots.
Here’s one involving our local schools that’s worth revisiting.
On Oct. 9, as flames were quickly spreading nearby and thick smoke began to darken the skies, the Orange Unified School District made the call to evacuate three of its elementary campuses, transporting their students to Canyon High School.
But, as the principal of Anaheim Hills Elementary shared with us, Canyon High did more than accommodate those who were displaced. ASB leaders, cheerleaders and members of the song team personally welcomed busloads of evacuees, cheering their arrival and directing them to the gymnasium with handmade signs.
It’s not the sort of tactic you’re likely to find in an emergency preparedness handbook, yet it offered some comfort during a tense set of circumstances.
“Fortunately, when we came here to Canyon High School, the welcoming committee was absolutely phenomenal,” Anaheim Hills Principal Fayroze Mostafa says. “They made a very frightening situation for the students very friendly.”
Canyon High Principal Craig Abercrombie shares more about his school’s response in the above video, which was produced by OCDE’s Media Services team. He says schools in Orange Unified plan for emergencies and drill throughout the year, working closing with other sites and the district’s Student and Community Services office. But, he adds, “You’re never truly prepared until it happens.”