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Merritt Brown Middle School says good-bye to portables

Bay County

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Faculty, staff and students at Merritt Brown Middle School are celebrating the return to their new classrooms.

Their buildings suffered major damage from Hurricane Michael, forcing them to work out of portables for almost two years.

Teachers at Merritt Brown Middle School said they’re happy to be back in their classrooms once again.

“Finally coming back to this campus feels like we’re all back where we’re supposed to be and we are all home now,” said Melissa Gray, the band director at Merritt Brown Middle School.

Gray said having a band class in a portable was a challenge.

“So they’re stumbling all over their equipment, they’re stumbling all over their cases, they’re stumbling all over each other’s feet and bands by nature they’re really big,” Gray said. “They have lots of students in band so it was hard, and it was loud and crowded so having our band room, it’s fantastic.”

Despite the struggles, Gray said she feels a category five hurricane and a pandemic have prepared her students for anything.

“I feel like we can tackle anything,” Gray said. “We’ve seen the worst. We’ve seen Hurricane Michael, it was category five, we all knew it was a five, when they didn’t know it was a five, we all knew and I feel like we can tackle anything. We’re home now, we can do anything now.”

KJ Williams, a teacher at Merritt Brown Middle School, said she’s excited to be out of the portables but also said they still have more recovery to do.

“A tree doesn’t grow overnight either it takes many years and it’s going to take all the perseverance we have,” Williams said.

Williams said because of the obstacles their school had had to overcome, she tries every day to teach her students how to have a positive mindset when challenging times happen.

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