School districts from Norwich to New Britain are enrolling students from families fleeing hurricane-ravaged areas.
The New Britain Consolidated School District told NBC Connecticut it now has a total of 18 students from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida.
Julie Deterville and her three children left her native St. Croix after the island, one of the US Virgin Islands, was hit by both Hurricane Irma and Maria.
After their home sustained damage to the roof during Hurricane Maria, the family left the island for Connecticut last week and moved in with Julie's mother in New Britain.
It is too early to tell how long they will stay here in Connecticut, but she said she is relieved her kids, 6-year-old Michael, 13-year-old Leah and 15-year-old Julory, started school in the New Britain Consolidated School District last Friday.
Julie said handling tasks like finding supplies and figuring out how to enroll in aid programs has been a challenge, but added her focus has been on "collecting information and still making the best decisions for the kids at this point."
The middle-school English teacher said enrolling her children in school has been a source of relief for her and her husband, who did not make the trip from St. Croix. Their eldest son, Julory explained, "I also wanted to stay behind to help my father but my father told me that education was important for my future here."
Though the three kids are not students in the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) system, employees of CREC surprised them at an event held this morning with new backpacks stuffed with supplies for school and home.
The gesture meant the world for their mother, who expressed, "This is awesome. Again one thing lifted off of your shoulders. I’m very appreciative. I’m very grateful."
The New Britain Consolidated School District told NBC Connecticut they will not turn anyone away.