Story by Lindsay Long, Raleigh Norris, Zakiya Austin

Photo by Raleigh Norris
Photo by Raleigh Norris

With the recent flood brought to South Carolina by Hurricane Joaquin, many students, teachers and residents of South Carolina have experienced life threatening situations, such as their houses being flooded above the first floor, or cars being taken away by the vicious amounts of water flowing through the state. Since these traumatic experiences may have ruined school supplies in the home, teachers and staff members are trying their best to provide the necessities for students whose textbooks or ipads have been damaged.

Digital Integration Specialist Susan Aplin states that if an iPad got ruined during the flood, the school will be sure to replace it free of any charges.

“There are two forms that students can get at iCare. One of them is a statement of damages form,” Aplin said. The statement of damages form they fill out saying when, where, and how the damage happened.”

If a student’s iPad has been damaged, them and their parents need to be prepared to fill out some paperwork.

“Then there is also a replacement iPad form that needs to have a parents’ signature as well as a student’s signature,” Aplin said. “They can get those two forms at iCare and then they can return those two forms to iCare before school, or during any lunch or academic enrichment, and when they bring those two forms with the iPad, the iCare will trade the iPad out with those forms.”

iPads are not the only school supply that had the ability to be ruined by the bad weather. Textbooks are also a big concern, for teachers, and students.

Bookkeeper Jen Kessinger has the same approach as Aplin on whether students should be charged for their iPads or textbooks or not.

“No, absolutely not. The state will waive those fees, we just have to have proof,” Kessinger said. “Whether that’s them taking pictures, or if they have an insurance form that their parents have filled out, the state will absolutely not hold them under any obligation.”

Teachers and staff members are not the only ones trying to help the students out. Student council, teacher cadets and band are contributing as well. Seniors Evan Major and Matthew Heron, student council members, are planning to have a carnival fundraiser to help families affected by the flood.

“We’re hoping to bring all the schools in District 5 together to raise money for the District 5 Foundation, which will then redistribute money to families affected by the flood and charities that are in need,” Matthew said.

The main goal of this carnival is to help those in need and provide them with necessities that may have been lost or damaged during the flood.

“For the younger kids who were affected, it gives them an opportunity to have something to do, and open up some fun since they were affected so harshly,” Evan said. “It gives us a chance to bring the community together.”

One main concern Matthew has is how the carnival is going to operate.

“Like the Okra Strut, we would have that same kind of setup where clubs can come and set up and have projects and games and rides, whatever they want to do to support the festival,” Matthew said. “We were thinking besides rides we would invite food trucks, so really just like a fun weekend activity for families and anybody really in the area and students in the district to come do.”

Student council is also hoping to have more than rides and food trucks at the carnival.
“We were thinking about each sports team and each club in the school to each be in charge of a different booth or event, and we were trying to get a rock climbing wall or bouncy house.” Evan said.

Besides providing carnivals and fun activities to raise money for flood victims, students also went out and did community service for those affected by the flood. Senior and teacher cadet Prentiss Edmond shares how helping others can improve the wellbeing of students and the community.

“It just shows our teacher heart and that we like to go out and help people, and we really just enjoy helping our community, but it helps when you’re a teacher cadet because you just have a better appreciation of your community and what you’re doing to better yourself and others,” Prentiss said. “It really just helps you appreciate what you have and not take for granted what you have.”

Although it may have been tough, Prentiss is sure that seeing the outcome and happiness of the victims after they finished was worth all of the hard work.

“We went to Murraywood and helped clean out houses and tore walls out of the house. Everything of their belongings that were ruined we had to shake them all out,” Prentiss said. “Pretty much we were just gutting the houses and then we talked to them and they were really sweet. One couple was like 82 years old and they were just so sweet and they were saying thank you over and over again.”

Along with teacher cadets, band is also helping the community out. Senior Cameron Schellpeper explains the organization that the band is representing.

“We are doing an event called Buckets of Love. We’ve been gathering cleaning supplies and giving them in these buckets to give to ArtSmart Academy, and they’re giving them out to people who need that stuff after the flood or if their house got damaged or anything,” Cameron said.

Cameron also explained how helping out victims of the flood made him feel a sense of unity.

“I just feel like we are being more of a part of helping rather than just being our own thing,” Cameron said. “We feel more of a part of everybody.”