St. Monica’s adjust after fire, thanks community

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Students and staff at St. Monica’s Catholic School are thanking community members for their support after the church was damaged by a fire last week. People donated thousands of dollars to help them.

Crews are working on church repairs and school leaders say work will likely continue at least until December. The school was not badly damaged, and classes resumed Monday.

Students were learning about math, science and English, but over the past week they learned a different kind of lesson: how a community comes together in the face of adversity.

“We can get through this,” eighth grader Amilia Valle said. “It’s just a building. Our teachers have been talking about the support we’ve been getting.”

That support started pouring in after an electrical fire last Wednesday. Through a GoFundMe page, people donated more than $13,000 dollars to St. Monica’s. School leaders used the money for rebuilding efforts and a field trip to the children’s museum.

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“I’m glad to be back at school now,” Valle said. “We have had to adjust to some new procedures.”

For now, St. Monica’s gym is being used as a church, which means physical education is outside. Employees are also changing up office space since some entrances are off limits.

Principal Michelle Boyd said students and staff are getting by with help from friends. She’s overwhelmed by the community’s reaction.

“It’s just been amazing. Really, joy is the emotion that I’m feeling right now,” Boyd said.

Boyd said other schools have reached out and offered extra class space. She said St. Monica’s won’t need it, but the students are sending a message to anyone who offered help.

“I didn’t realize how much support we’d get,” Valle said. “Thank you.”

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis offered the school a discount price for their field trip last Friday, and the school also received a discount on bus rides to the museum.