Classmate: Home away from home

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Quake-affected Christchurch teens have found a home away from home at Wakatipu High. 

The school has welcomed 60 students from several different schools following the devastating 6.3 magnitude shake on February 22. 

While some have left the Wakatipu already, others expect to stay for the rest of term one while their educational situations are sorted out. 

The students, who are mostly staying in Queenstown with relatives or in family holiday homes, were initially matched up with Wakatipu High buddies to help settle in to their temporary school. 

Aside from the expected class interruptions and grappling with NCEA subject differences, the new students have slotted in to their new surrounds. 

“It’s been nice to be able to come here,” Thomas Frost, a former Queenstowner who now attends Christ’s College, says. 

“It’s definitely easy to settle in. I haven’t met a single person who’s been unpleasant.” 

Middleton Grange pupil Jacob Tapper-Norris likes Wakatipu High so much he wants to stay in Queenstown with his grandparents for the ski season. 

Linwood College’s Isaac McCluskey, 17, is likely to drive back to the quake-ravaged city this Sunday with Thomas. 

But Issac’s school is in the badly-damaged eastern suburbs and remains closed for an indefinite period. 

“We will be top-and-tailing with Cashmere High,” he says. 

“The plan is we’ll be going to Cashmere to school in the afternoon till 5.30pm.” 

Isaac, who helped with the clean-up immediately after the quake, adds: “I’m pretty attached to Canterbury so it’s really hard for me to see the city like this … but Queenstown’s been fantastic.”

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