A member of Debra Herman’s fifth grade science class went missing during superstorm Sandy.
But apparently Slippy the Turtle wasn’t missing at all. The 12-year-old red-eared slider was rescued by a building contractor assessing the damage at Oceanside School No. 8 in the wake of the storm.
“Our school was damaged by the hurricane and we were relocated and temporarily housed at another building,” principal Laurie Welch Storch said. “It was a quick move and Slippy was missing and we weren’t sure where he was or if he had survived.”
But on Wednesday, the students cheered as Slippy was reunited with the class. Even the school’s principal was surprised to see Slippy.
“Today was the best day ever, because our building contractors came into School No. 6 with Slippy in a Dunkin Donuts box,” said Welch Storch. “The day they found him, Slippy wasn’t looking well, so the contractors took him to Petco, where he was nursed back to health.”
Mason Penn, a fifth grader in the science class, recalls sneaking away during lunchtime to play with the turtle.
“I was upset when it was possible for Slippy not to be with us anymore and I was happy to have him back,” said Penn, 10, of Oceanside.
Slippy was given to Herman six years ago by Oceanside Nature Center to be used in the curriculum.
“Many, many children have fallen in love with him and come back to visit him regularly,” Herman said. “The children were quite upset that he was missing. It was sad to think that he might not be coming back.”
Sari Goldstein, another fifth grader in the class, said she is called the turtle person because of her attachment to spending time with Slippy during and after school.
“I missed him when he wasn’t around, but when he was back I was really excited,” said Goldstein, 9, of Oceanside.
Welch Storch said it was a welcome break for students having to deal with the stress their families endured after the storm and taking classes in a strange building for at least a month.
“Oceanside has been devastated by the storm and now it’s the small things that matter the most and this heartwarming story of Slippy just made the kids feel better and know there are good people in the neighborhood and everybody still takes care of each other.”