Students study Katrinas devastation
By LISA CUTRONI
In a matter of hours, life for many in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama was demolished.
Hurricane Katrina tore through city streets, businesses, homes, and lives.
Now, in schools across Sullivan County, Katrina is providing a catalyst for investigating the effects of the devastating hurricane.
Two weeks ago, 37 students enrolled in Thomas Scardinos environmental science class at Eldred Central School were given a special project.
Cherish Galvin, a fellow educator who has taken Scardinos place for the past month, felt that her students would benefit from studying the catastrophic effects on residents living along the Gulf Coast. Students were expected to complete PowerPoint presentations consisting of six slides related to particular topics, which included health risks, missing children, racial tensions and crime.
Galvin hopes the presentations, which were made on September 29 and 30 and October 3 and 4, will be uploaded to the schools web site.
Doing the research really made Katrina realistic to the students, Galvin said. They have expressed wanting to help Katrina victims. Right now, they are just looking for an available outlet to do so.
While researching the hurricanes aftermath, students were asked to determine feasible responses that might prevent future hurricanes from causing the widespread havoc that took place in the wake of Katrina, and to discuss these responses in their presentations.
You are now the leaders of this, Galvin said to her students. You have all the information regarding Katrina. Now, go tell your fellow students and family members about what is going on.
This course introduces students to the impacts human beings can have on their environments and the possible repercussions. One example would be the consequences of building a city (New Orleans) below sea level.
Since the beginning of the school year at Monticello High School, discussions of the economic effects of Hurricane Katrina have become the norm in Academy of Finance program advisor Wendy Levinsons classroom.
Recently, the National Academy Foundation (NAF)the parent organization of the high school program that is designed to promote business educationbegan the Hurricane Katrina Recovery and Rebuilding Fund to assist the 26 daughter academies in the Louisiana and Mississippi areas that were devastated by Katrina.
The fund is unique in that only faculty and families of NAF students affected by Katrina will receive money raised by the extension academies throughout the nation, including Monticellos Academy of Finance program. The money will be used to pay for books, supplies, transportation and clothing.
September 26 was the first day of collection at Monticello High School. Students in the program, spearheaded by seniors Joe D Abbraccio, Robert Crawford and Heather Burns, wrote announcements to notify students and faculty of the project. Collections were made during social studies classes and containers were available during lunch hours.
Student and faculty members were each asked to donate $1 per day for five days. When the collection ended on September 30, $1,200 had been collected. This was twice as much money as the NAF had asked individual high schools to raise.
Academy students went around to their fellow classmates and described the circumstances facing Katrina victims. After hearing the sad stories, kids were more willing to donate, DAbbraccio said.
Every afternoon for the past week, Martha Retana, also a student of the academy, has been counting the donated money.
Academy students are also planning a class lecture for elementary students about the effects of major hurricanes. After receiving notification of an interested elementary teacher, they will discuss the effects in easy-to-understand language.
The students have learned a number of skills through the process, including communicating with faculty, board of education members, business owners and parents. Most of all, the students are learning how to come together for a single cause.
To assist the academy students, the Monticello Middle School has named Hurricane Katrina as the recipient of its first-quarter donation. Tanya England and Peggy Ryder, both guidance counselors at the middle school, have created Helping Hands, a program that invites students to donate to a particular cause.
It is not just about donating a few dollars or dropping a few coins into a can for these students. They are looking deeper into their pockets and trying to pull out solutions, not just dollar bills.
While getting clean clothes and food to Katrina victims is at the forefront of many students minds, they also want to find out how the mass devastation might be prevented in the future.
And while a group of kids from Sullivan County have no control over the weather, they can make sure that they hear the cries of their peers 1,600 miles away.