JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – It’s been over a week since an Onslow County Schools teacher lost her classroom in a fire at a Jacksonville school.
The fire destroyed the modular trailer classroom last Wednesday at Hunters Creek Elementary. The cause is still unknown. Thankfully, no one was in the classroom at the time, and no one was injured.
The teacher who worked in that classroom is now speaking out about her experience.
Michelle Taylor is a reading specialist teacher at the school. She told 9OYS the way she’s been feeling is overwhelmed. Not just about what happened to her, but by the amount of support she’s received from the community following the fire.
Almost 30 years of teaching memories are gone. From office supplies to furniture to every evaluation Taylor has had since 1993.
“But everybody’s safe. So, most of that can be replaced. The things that can’t, I have it in my memory,” said Taylor.
Taylor said when she got word that it was her classroom destroyed in the fire, it was a whirlwind.
“I didn’t want to see what had happened. Having gone through it before. You just don’t forget things like that,” said Taylor.
In 1999, Taylor lost all of her belongings in a house fire. So, that made this even harder for her to go through.
“We went out and the smells and the sights were kind of alarming given that I had experienced it before. And [the Fire Marshall] just needed to get an idea of where the placement of the classroom and where things were located because you couldn’t tell,” said Taylor.
A close friend of hers suggested she make an Amazon Wishlist to help her re-supply her classroom. That list got shared on social media over and over throughout the community.
“I ended up having to refill the wish list twice. It is now empty. And I’m not adding anything else to it now because I’ve been blessed with so much,” said Taylor.
Now, her garage is full of dozens of empty Amazon boxes from donations from the community. This is all to help get her temporary classroom back together before school starts back up on Tuesday.
“It’s just extremely heartwarming, very overwhelming in a wonderful way. And it kind of restores your faith in people right now. You know, the world is a crazy place. And it’s nice to know that there are good people still around,” said Taylor.
Taylor says she plans on donating all the extra supplies she doesn’t need to other teachers next year and to the United Way’s “Stuff the Bus” event in August.