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Transy grad was in Chile during quake

Erin Grace, a Transylvania University graduate and North Oldham County High School teacher, was dancing in Concepción, Chile, early Saturday when the earthquake hit.

She "just went outside to a courtyard to ride it out," and is OK, said her father, Tom Grace, of Westport.

Erin Grace, 28, teaches Spanish at North Oldham, but is on a one-year leave of absence to study applied linguistics at Universidad de Concepción, her father said. She won a scholarship from the Prospect/Goshen Rotary Club. She is a 2003 Transylvania graduate.

Tom Grace said he was awakened at 6:30 a.m. Saturday by a call from a brother who told him about the Chilean quake.

He and his wife, Vickey, spent a tense day until they finally got through to Erin on her cell phone at about 3 p.m.

"We're having chocolate chip cookies to celebrate," he said.

Tom Grace said Erin and a roommate live on the 14th floor of an 18-story apartment building. The building is still standing, but officials only allowed people to get back in one floor at a time to gather a few of their belongings and leave, he said.

Erin went to a frame house on the outskirts of Concepción that belongs to her roommate's grandparents.

When Tom Grace spoke to Erin, she knew there had been a lot of damage, but didn't have nearly as much information about the quake as he did. He was giving her details about the magnitude and she was passing it along to others.

Erin arrived in Chile in August and is due back in Kentucky in July, "but we may put a little pressure on her to come back earlier," her father said.