Teachers escort Idyllwild Arts students to safety

Lessons continue as flames encircle school

■ Chronicle News Staff

The summer students at the Idyllwild Academy of Arts found themselves facing a challenge last week when the Cranston fire erupted near their school, according to Brendan Constantine, a teacher with the Idyllwild Arts summer poetry and creative writing program.
In an article in the Idyllwild Town Crier, Constantine tells how the counselors tried to keep students calm as they readied instructor vehicles and school vans to escape the mountain to Banning High School as fire closed in and planes flew overhead.
Down Highway 243 to Banning, students and teachers were directed to the gym as volunteers offered them water and fruit snacks. Faculty at the school set up a meds table and first-aid station for students with medical needs. Some parents arrived to take their children away, but others from distant ports had to be transported to a hotel in Palm Springs.
While school administrators were hoping to be back on the mountain within a couple of days, the most optimistic estimate turned out to be Aug. 4. That would cut a week and a half out of the summer-school session, so some of the education that the students were prepared for would have to be cut short. However, teachers used the experience to help students express themselves through poetry and other means.

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