Maine Students Safe in Ecuador After Devastating, Deadly Earthquake - NECN
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Maine Students Safe in Ecuador After Devastating, Deadly Earthquake

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    Parents in Maine are relieved to learn their children are safe in Ecuador, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed more than 300 people and injured about 2,000. (Published Monday, April 18, 2016)

    Parents in Maine are relieved to learn their children are safe in Ecuador, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed more than 300 people and injured about 2,000.

    Two Maine high schools have students there during spring break: Greater Portland Christian School in South Portland and Lake Region High School in Naples.

    "When you really think about what happened and see the images, and put your daughter in that context .... it's really scary," said Kurtis Clements. His daughter, Haley Bragdon-Clements, is one of eight Lake Region High School students in Ecuador.

    He said the students are traveling with one LRHS teacher and her son, and they are all doing well. The trip is focused on studying the Galapagos Islands, and they are not near the areas most affected by the quake.

    "My sense is that she doesn't really know the extent of what has happened at this point, and that's fine by me," said Clements, who has been able to text with his daughter occasionally.

    Closer to the epicenter of the quake were eight students from the Greater Portland Christian School.

    "It was not reassuring to see a photo of a hotel collapsed in the city they were at, but the initial word was 'we're safe,'" said John Bishop, head of the school.

    He said eight students, two teachers and an chaperone have been in Ecuador for a mission trip. They planned to fly home Wednesday, but now they're not sure if and when they'll be able to board a flight back.

    Bishop said in the mean time, the students are making the most of a difficult situation.

    "There was a family they had worked with, and they heard the family had lost their home entirely," said Bishop. "The kids emptied their pockets and took a collection. They were grateful the Lord protected them in this, and they're making life memories."

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