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First School in Epicenter Resumes Classes

More than 500 students and teachers of a middle school at the epicenter of China's May 12 earthquake have moved in a mobile school and resumed classes.

Construction workers from Guangdong Province have erected 6,800 square meters of steel-framed temporary buildings in Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province.

The new school building will allow more than 300 students preparing for the upcoming college entrance exam and 200 others in lower grades of Weizhou Middle School to resume studies.

The new school has 35 classrooms, 145 dormitories and 10 teachers offices and is resistant to water, fire, heat and earthquakes, the workers said.

The students and teachers observed a national flag raising ceremony on Monday morning in the playground of the new school and sang the national anthem.

As soon as the music ended, someone from the crowd shouted "Long live the motherland", which was immediately echoed by all the others.

The school was the first to resume normal classes in Wenchuan, where 14,000 students still have no place to study after the 8.0 magnitude earthquake destroyed most of the teaching buildings, said Hu Zhengan, director of the county's education bureau.

The official had called upon neighboring regions to accommodate more of the students.

Before the quake, the county had more than 15,000 students and 1,302 teachers, but 374 students and 28 teachers were killed on May 12.

Hu wished neighboring provinces could follow Guangdong's efforts in building mobile schools or host some of the students to ensure their studies would not be interrupted for too long.

(Xinhua News Agency June 3, 2008)

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