Raa Middle School Picks Up the Pieces

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The smell of smoke still hangs over the campus of Tallahassee's Raa Middle School, nearly three months after flames ripped through three classrooms and a gym.

For now, some students are settling into a new semester in an old cafeteria awaiting renovations. All is quiet on what is now known as “Smokey Hollow,” a row of Raa Middle School classrooms ravaged by fire, nearly three months ago by an arsonist.

Flames tore through Brisca Vickers Irvin’s classroom. Since then she's been dishing out daily doses of language arts from the school's old cafeteria. Yet, fire fatigue is starting to settle over staff and students anxious to return to a permanent classroom.

Fifteen-year-old Jimmy Lee Gray, a student at Raa, is charged with lighting the blaze. District officials say as soon as the police investigation comes to a close and insurance claims are settled, renovations will begin. For now the Raa Rams will practice patience and perseverance.

Fire wasn't the only thing to shake up the campus of Raa Middle School. Principal Donna Callaway was appointed to the state Board of Education. So far her predecessor has not been named.

As for the teen charged with setting the fire, he is currently attending the district's Second Chance School.