More than 500 students from Beichuan Middle School, whose 1,300 schoolmates and teachers were killed or missing in last week's massive earthquake, resumed classes on Monday.
The 508 students, who were to attend the college entrance exam in the near future, were relocated to Mianyang, Sichuan Province, after their school in Beichuan County was devastated in the earthquake.
The students sang the national anthem without music accompaniment before classes began at 9:30 a.m. in the training center of Changhong Group, a major Chinese television set maker.
"We were horrified and saddened by the earthquake. However, we must study harder and enter the colleges, so that we can come back to rebuild our homeland better," said Liu Zhijuan, one of the students.
Two teaching buildings in the school were leveled and another, where the 508 students were having classes, was badly damaged. Beichuan Middle School could be the one of worst life losses in the earthquake on May 12, as more than 1,300 of the school's 2,900 students and teachers were either dead or missing.
The Sichuan provincial government provided the 508 students with textbooks and teaching materials, while the Mianyang Education Bureau sent teachers.
Changhong Group, besides providing its training center for the use as classrooms, decided to finance the building of a new Beichuan Middle School. The group's donation of a new school sign brought many students and teachers into tears.
On Monday afternoon, more than 3,500 high-school students from Dujiangyan City held their class-resuming ceremony on the campus of the agricultural vocational school in the provincial capital Chengdu. Zhou Rui, one of the students, had been preparing for the national entrance examination on June 7 at Dujiangyan foreign language high school. But the quake toppled their classroom building. "Having had no classes for a week, we are deeply worried about the exam."
The vocational school moved up the date for vacation earlier so as to accommodate the quake-affected students. More than 8,000 students were leaving and would return to the vocational school one month ahead of the new term to catch up their class.
The annual national college entrance examination was postponed in 40 quake-ravaged counties and districts in Sichuan. The new date for the examination is yet to be set.
A medical institute in Chengdu also accommodated 111 students and 22 teachers from Xuankou Middle School in Yingxiu Town of Wenchuan County on Monday. They escaped the disaster and were rescued after four days' stay on a hill.
Their new teachers, mostly professors of the medical institute, decided to spend the first week on psychological counseling for the students.
Liu Yan, a teacher of the Xuankou Middle School, said there were originally more than 1,600 students at the school but no figures of the casualties were available yet.
China's death toll rose to 34,073 as of Monday noon, while the final figure was estimated to exceed 50,000.
(Xinhua News Agency May 20, 2008)