• Orange County elementary school holds forum to help displaced Puerto Rican families adjust

    By: Ken Tyndall


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - In the past 24 hours, Orange County schools have had nearly 200 students enroll after being displaced from Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria.

    Since the storm hit, more than 900 students have enrolled in Orange County.

    To help families and students adjust to their new surroundings, officials at Meadow Woods Elementary School held a forum Wednesday night.

    Representatives from the school, district and Federal Emergency Management Agency took questions and gave out information about relocating for others still on the island.

    Yoseliz Rolan and her daughter Giarraine arrived in Orange County Tuesday, having left everything behind in Puerto Rico.

    “I left everything,” Rolan said. “My house, my car, my son. I have a 20-year-old that started college.”

    Giarraine, a fifth grader, was having a difficult time adjusting.

    “It’s a completely different thing,” she said. “I’m not used to it. I’m used to my school. I’m used to my friends.”

    That was one of the goals of Wednesday’s forum: to help new students and their families adjust.

    “Some of them come here with no clothes, no money, they don’t know what to expect,” Meadow Woods Elementary principal Aleli Vazquez said. “It’s brand new to them.”

    Marilyn Torres lives in Orange County, but attended the forum to get information for friends and family in Puerto Rico.

    “It is heartbreaking to see how Puerto Rico is right now,” she said. “And there’s a lot of people who need help. So, that’s why I’m here. Because I want to help my family and also my friends.”

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