With more than 70 years of history, Kehoe-France Southshore (KFS) enjoys deep roots in the Greater New Orleans community. And just like the city’s grand oaks, this school for infants through 7th grade relied on its deep roots to weather the destruction of Hurricane Ida. Faced with massive campus damage and uninhabitable buildings, the leadership and community of Kehoe-France jumped into action to salvage the schoolyear and provide students and their families with the quality education and stability they’ve come to expect.

Unknown 5“Upon learning that all stakeholders were safe and well, we recognized our students’ need for some sense of normalcy,” says Lower School Principal Sarah Ficarra. With the safety and security of students in mind, plans for virtual learning were quickly implemented while temporary locations for in-person learning that could meet rigorous specifications were sought.

“The France family has been instrumental in supporting us in finding new locations and relicensing our childcare center,” says Dr. Ann Marie Luce, Head of School. “Rob Diviney, a KFS alumni and current parent, worked as many of his contacts as possible while parent volunteers decorated our new sites, provided meals, and moved school materials.”

After numerous phone calls, meetings, and site visits, KFS partnered with the Holy Cross and Mount Olive Lutheran Church communities as well as the College of Education at SUNO and St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church, all of whom graciously provided space for temporary sites. Additionally, International School Partnership helped navigate insurance, restoration, and rebuilding efforts.

The outpouring of community support inspired KFS students as much as its staff, and each grade level worked with teachers to identify problems created by Hurricane Ida and devise creative solutions.

“Our seventh grade students worked with an elementary school in St. Charles Parish to create ‘activity boxes’ for its nearly 300 children who lost all of their belongings,” says Upper School Principal Sarah Block. Collectively, KFS students raised over $2,000 for various causes.

“Having been through this difficult time together, we are excited to strengthen the bond on community that sets KFS apart,” says Dr. Luce.

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