BRIGHTON, Colo. — Back to school can be an exciting but also stressful time for parents as well as teachers who are getting everything ready for students to return to the classroom.
It can be even more overwhelming for someone who is still dealing with the aftermath of the Marshall Fire.
Natascha Ambrose is a brand new high school teacher at Eagle Ridge Academy in Brighton. She's gearing up for her first day of school, all while still learning to navigate the impacts of losing her home in Superior seven months ago.
"We lost everything, unfortunately. We lived in the Sagamore neighborhood, which was the first neighborhood to get hit. We had no warning other than big billows of smoke," Ambrose said.
Her family of four counts themselves lucky. They were all home when the fire broke out and escaped with a little more than the clothes on their backs. Now, she's starting a classroom from scratch, too.
"When you have an entire life and you accumulate things, I could have easily gone to my basement and gotten pictures for the walls, and you know, some little trinkets and things like that. And here I am starting with nothing," she said. "The community has helped me a bit, but certainly, that's been a struggle and a hardship."
Ambrose will be teaching freshmen students about business and technology. She plans to incorporate some of the lessons she's learned through the hardships in the classroom.
Previously, she was working in higher education administration and then as a student re-engagement counselor at another school, but she said she always wanted to pursue teaching.
"It's my first year as a teacher, and I'm really trying to find ways to build those relationships with the kids and let them know who I am," Ambrose said.
She hopes to teach them an important lesson on resiliency.
"I think that this experience has shaped who I am," she said. "I would like it for my students to help me rebuild this classroom, and you know, maybe put themselves on these walls."