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Van Nuys Students Raise Thousands For Teacher Who Lost Home In Woolsey Fire

VAN NUYS (CBSLA) — A Van Nuys teacher is learning a lesson from her own students about how generous and caring people can be.

When Reesa Partida had to leave behind the house she was renting in Agoura Hills to escape the flames of the Woolsey Fire, she was aware she could lose everything.

"Pretty much expecting the worst, just knowing where we were and how strong the winds were," she said.

But even as the worst happened and her home was completely destroyed, she still regrets the loss of certain irreplaceable items, like her wedding dress and her Christmas decorations.

"Some of that stuff, my grandma gave me," Partida said. "She's dead now, and [they] can't be replaced."

But instead of dwelling on her circumstances, she still went to work as a dance teacher at Van Nuys High School – and her students noticed.

"Even the day that she was evacuated at 2 a.m. in the morning, she came to school and told us, 'hey, I'm here to dance with you, because what good is it gonna do for me to just sit at an evacuation center and watch the news? I'm here for you guys to dance,'" a student, wearing a pullover with the name "Brandon" on it, recalled.

Four of her Partida's students jumped into action, asking their friends to pitch in to raise $500 initially. After getting a a great response, they raise their goal to $5,000, an amount they have almost reached.

"I just wanted her to feel loved," said one student who spearheaded the fundraising drive. "She deserves all the good things."

Partida seems to feel the students have accomplished their mission.

"It's so nice," she said. "I felt so loved. That makes up for all the pain and sadness."

Partida says she and her husband are staying with her parents until they can find a new home.

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