HUGHSON, Calif. — Loren Lighthall, former principal at Paradise High School, moved from Butte County after having a hard time finding housing for his family of seven children.
"We really miss the community," Lighthall said. "It was really intentional for us to move there and be a part of the church, the school, and the community. It's tough to not be around it."
Lighthall, like many after the Camp Fire, lost his home in the fire.
"Housing was the main factor," Lighthall said. "You lose 14,000 homes and all of those people are looking for homes, and the area already had a low vacancy rate. It just became almost impossible to rent then the buyers market became so inflated."
There was also another reason.
"Leaving the trauma. Leaving the reminders of the fire, that day, and that life and that time," Lighthall said. "You're reminded of it at church, at work, at school."
He made the decision to move based on what was best for his family.
He took a job as principal at Hughson High School after the former principal retired after 30 years.
"This is a really great school. Really good test scores. A lot of pride in the community. A lot of unity with the city," Lighthall said.
The new school year at Hughson High School is the same week as Paradise High School.
"I thought about it all day today, and I know they'll be fine and persevere. It's just hard not to be part of their lives you know?" Lighthall said.
He's looking forward to getting to know the students at Hughson High School and the people in his community. He also plans to continue to show support for Paradise High School by attending the first football game of the year.
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