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West Columbus High School students back in class

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CERRO GORDO, NC (WWAY) -- The West Columbus High School students who were stranded in Denmark thanks to a volcanic ash cloud were back in class today. The 12 students missed about a week of school, but believe it or not, they're glad to be be back in the classroom.

"I'm very, very excited. I wanted to come home already," said West Columbus High Junior Jimina Galaviz. "I mean Europe was great. It was fantastic, but I wanted to come home."

The students were supposed to spend 11 days studying abroad in Denmark, but their trip was extended to 20 days when ash from a volcano in Iceland shut down European air space. They finally flew home Sunday.

"Right now I'm trying to get over jet lag, but it's starting to get better because I get to see my family and stuff and get to catch up on all my work that I missed," said student Deven Morgan.

Jimina and Deven both spent their birthdays in Denmark. "We went to Hard Rock Café and got to celebrate," Deven said.

Jimina added, "We did a slumber party with the girls, and we did blind-folded make-up, and we ran down to the lobby in the hotel, and we looked like a mess, but we still did it."

Then it was Principal Mark Brown and the guys' turn to get blind-folded make-overs.

"I figured that I needed a little bit of extra credit in math class," Deven said.

"It took me about 30 minutes to get it off of my face and it took me three times to wash my hair to get it out of my hair," Brown said. "We had to come up with a lot of ways to keep them occupied and keep their spirits up."

The extra time abroad cost the school district about $1,000 a day. The school may have to help pay some of it back.

"The county doesn't have it," Brown said. "I'll be perfectly honest. With all the budget cuts and all the revisions that we've had to send back this year, it's been a tough budget year."

The students are going to have to make up their work, but their teachers are working with them to get them caught up.

The students did not have trip insurance but Brown said even if they did, it would not have helped them get back any sooner or covered their expenses.

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