By Rose Arce, CNN
(CNN) - The very last New York school closed because of damage from Superstorm Sandy re-opened Friday, marking the end of a period that displaced 73,000 students.
The 1,100 students of Scholars' Academy walked into the building wearing blue T-shirts that said “Scholars' Strong” on the front and “Rockaway Resilient” on the back. The Rockaway Peninsula school is surrounded by water from the ocean and bay and located near a sewage treatment plant. Water from all three met on October 29 as the storm engulfed the school's first floor, leaving it unusable.
Many students suffered significant damage to their homes and continue to live in temporary housing. Even the school's principal, Brian O’Connell, lives in a hotel provided by FEMA.
“The way you get through this is to look at the positives of it,” O'Connell said. “You can say, 'Isn’t this an adventure to look at the opportunity to be with my family in one room spending time together…we gained a deeper closeness.'
“Through commitment to collaboration, hard work, organization and communication, our school community rallied to quell the ripples of Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath for our students."