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Students of School Hit Worst in Earthquake Resume Class

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 levelled and the other, where the 508 students were having classes, was badly damaged. Beichuan Middle School could be the one of worst life losses in last week's earthquake, 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 local teachers to help teach.

Changhong Group, besides providing its training center for the use as classrooms, decided to provide fund to build a new Beichuan Middle School. The group's donation of a new school sign brought many students and teachers into tears.

The annual national college entrance examination was postponed in 40 quake-affected counties and districts in Sichuan Province, including Beichuan.

The new date for the examination -- originally scheduled for June 7 to 9 -- is yet to be set.

China's death toll rose to 34,073 as 12 AM Monday, while the final figure was estimated to exceed 50,000.

(Xinhua News Agency May 19, 2008)

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