(L-R) Luis Ruiz, Ana Pimsler, Luis Guadarrama, and Gissell Alvarez

(L-R) Luis Ruiz, Ana Pimsler, Luis Guadarrama, and Gissell Alvarez

Roseland Collegiate Prep math teacher and mountain bike team coach Ana Pimsler and members of her team lost their school along with the team’s bikes, equipment and cycling kits. They speak about that experience, but also that of finding ways to move forward.

Ana Pimsler: They’d just had a homecoming dance Saturday night in the gym; it’s now gone. I think for a lot of them it was like, "whoa I was just in the gym on Saturday night dancing." We had the best turnout. We’re finally a full school this year. We’ve been growing the school for the last six years.

Luis Ruiz: I was in disbelief when I saw the first pictures of our school.

Giselle Alvarez: One of my best friends called me crying, saying that she had heard that most of our school had burned down. She was talking about all the classrooms and all the memories. The stage where we had put on three plays had burned down. I was trying to comfort her but inside, I was really devastated!

I would trade anything in the world just to go back to the week before school burned down. I was super stressed with school work, but I didn't even care. I would go back to school and be swamped with tests and essays for anything if school could just be back.

Luis Guadarrama: We’re here in the elementary school, so it still doesn't feel like home yet. But the school and their staff, they’re trying to make it feel like home.

LR: We have a lot of college application [deadlines] coming up. I think most of us forgot a lot of what we were learning in calculus, English, history. It was really tough, getting back on track.

“We don’t really need that many textbooks. As long as we’re together. That’s the important part. Everything else can be replaced.”
— Luis Ruiz

AP: My work life is definitely not normal. I spend probably as much time at school as anywhere else. As far as biking, we just got back into the park yesterday, which was amazing! We have 39% of it to ride in which was awesome. It felt really good to be able to go to that home. If you ask me where home is, it's at school, it's at home, and it’s in Annadel. That’s basically the three places where I live most of my life.

LR: I go road biking by Highway 12, and I've been able to see a couple of places that have been affected by the fire. That's tough, seeing all that. Some houses burned down and a lot of the hillside is all dark and gray.

GA: It feels like everyone's trying to figure something out. For the first week after the fire people really weren't going outside; the streets were empty. Now things are kind of getting back to normal. But If I go to the store or ice skating, you can hear people talking about it. Someone will be having a conversation like, "oh yeah, my buddy lost his house." It's on everyone's minds.

GA: I'd never been one for team sports like soccer and basketball. So when I heard that Pimsler was starting a mountain bike club, I thought it sounded really interesting. And I'd heard it was kinda dangerous but I didn't really know HOW dangerous. The first time I ever mountain biked, we went to Howarth Park and I fell down and got a black eye.

AP: She endoed so hard!

GA: Yeah, I got a black eye and a ripped lip. I went home and my parents were like, "you're never doing this again!" But I was like, "I really want to! Please let me try it again!" I just...I kinda fell in love with it!