Tuesday, September 12
All of the temporary school buildings (the “portables”) have been destroyed or condemned. The football stadium has lost half of its seating capacity.
Tuesday, September 14
Dad has been promoted to director of Civil Engineering for Tangerine County, following the resignation of Old Charley Burns. It turns out that the department never bothered to investigate the building plans for the Lake Windsor campus. Developers there and in Tangerine County as a whole were allowed to do just about whatever they wanted, without any inspections. Burns resigns in disgrace, and Dad promises that in the future, all development sites will be properly investigated and regulated.
Paul learns here about the downside of big business, when developers, eager to make money, are allowed by the local authorities to pretty much do as they please. In the rush to cash in on the building boom in Tangerine County, no one gave any thought to the safety of the people who were going to live and, in the case of the school, study there. It is fortunate that there were no fatalities.
Friday, September 15
In the wake of the disaster, which is likely to close the school for a while, Mom has plans to get Paul into a Catholic school. Paul is unenthusiastic. With Dad, they go to a big meeting in the high school gymnasium. Dad sits on the stage with the county commissioners. Mrs. Gates announces that an emergency relocation plan will be put into place immediately; the eighth graders will go to the high school, and the seventh graders will go to the middle school. There will be a split schedule for sixth and seventh graders, with class periods reduced to forty minutes each. Seventh-graders will also be permitted to transfer to Tangerine Middle if they choose. As they leave the meeting, Paul seizes his opportunity. He tells Mom that he wants to attend Tangerine Middle School. He wants to go without an IEP and he wants to play in goal for the soccer team. Mom and Dad agree.
Paul shows his determination to pursue his goal of playing soccer despite all these setbacks. This is his version of the Erik Fisher Football Dream—low key and less glamorous it may be but it is far more heroic.