HUGHSON -- If you listen for the whistle and look out for his colorful Crocs, you may get a sense of the enthusiasm that embodies Hughson High School’s newest Principal Loren Lighthall.
"I feel really grateful to be here, be a part of this, and this situation has been very good for me and my family," Lighthall told FOX40 on Monday.
Lighthall is the former principal of Paradise High School. He says he, his wife and their seven kids lost their home when the Camp Fire swept through their community.
"It just became impossible to find housing that was suitable for a big family," he said.
The housing shortage in Butte County also affected his former assistant principal Marnie Smith, whose home also burned in the Camp Fire.
"So I have all the family heirlooms," Smith said. "I had like an antique clock that belonged to my grandmother from the 1800s that’s gone."
Out of the debris, Smith says she was able to start piecing her life back together. When a new opportunity emerged, she says she made the difficult decision to move away from her family to be the learning director at Hughson High School.
"The minute I drove into Hughson, I was like, 'OK, I love this town, this is where I want to be,'" Smith said. "It’s good for me. It’s sad that they’re not here with me but it’s being here is the right decision and the right place to be."
School begins next week and both Whitehall and Smith say they look forward to meeting the students and parents.