(Nicole Goss | The Poly Post)

Malibu High grad reflects on fire’s damage

The Woolsey Fire, one of the biggest wildfires to hit Southern California in modern times, burned over 96,000 acres in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

One of the places that was greatly affected was Malibu.

It destroyed so many homes on Pacific Coast Highway and in Point Dume, which is about one mile away from my alma mater, Malibu High School.

I graduated from MHS in 2016, and a lot of my classmates had their homes destroyed in the fire. It is devastating to see their childhood homes turn to ash.

For the past two weeks, Malibu High alumni, students, teachers and the surrounding community have shared pictures on social media of what was once the beautiful beach of Malibu.

(Nicole Goss | The Poly Post)

It was insane because for three years my mom and I would drive on Pacific Coast Highway to get to school, and I remember we would always comment on how beautiful the ocean was and the houses we passed on our way to school.

All of Malibu had to be evacuated due to Santa Ana winds causing the fire to grow, including my grandmother, who works in a Malibu home on PCH.

The day my grandmother had to evacuate, the power had gone out and many people were not able to contact loved ones for up to a couple days after the evacuations.

I grew up visiting Malibu from time to time and when I saw the neighborhoods I knew were on fire, it was tough to see those memories burn.

My world history teacher, Mr. Panish, posted on Facebook about the fires being near Malibu High School and it felt like all those memories, whether they were good or bad, were being taken away.

For the next couple of days, I thought about all things I did back in high school.

Being part of the junior varsity basketball team, dressing up for spirit week because we wanted movie night, prom and being part of the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu.

Malibu High alumna, Gigi Hadid (‘13), now one of the world’s most famous models, also posted on social media about the fires and her alma mater. At MHS, she was captain of the varsity volleyball team as well as a competitive horseback rider. Fortunately, only a small area of where construction is happening at the school got burned and no major damage was done to the school.

The past couple of days were reassuring because MHS did not get damaged, but I wish I could say the same for other parts of Malibu.

Malibu is a small place where everyone knows everyone and never in the three years I attended MHS had I seen such a sense of community and love.

After the first few days, the hashtag #malibustrong began to surface on Instagram and it now has over 5,000 posts.

Despite the tweet that President Donald Trump sent out saying the wildfires were caused by poor forest management and threatening to cut federal aid, the city of Malibu continued to work hard to restore all that was lost, whether or not Trump decided to help.

Eventually he flew out to California to meet with Gov. Jerry Brown and Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom to see the damage.

Many celebrities such as Arielle Kebbel, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lady Gaga have gone out to volunteer to help those affected by the fires. Malibu will continue to support those who have lost their homes, and many who have yet to return home.

As an alumna of Malibu High School, I feel I should do whatever I can to help those who lost their homes and remember those who lost their lives.

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