Stories From Sandy
Hurricane Sandy was a major and tremendous disaster, destroying many homes especially in Rockaway. Our very own school, Scholars’ Academy, for instance, was ruined as well; therefore we were relocated to another high school in Brooklyn. It was very hard at first for us Scholars’ students to adapt to this new environment, but being with our Scholars’ family, has made it a whole lot easier. Scholars’ Academy student, Erin Kelly, was one of the students to have been affected tragically and taken out of her home. “I was affected pretty badly considering the fact that I don’t have a house anymore. My house was literally destroyed, everything was out of its place, and couches and beds were filled with water,” she explained. Although this storm completely turned our lives upside down, taking the homes of many students and their families, and other civilians, certain students still offered to volunteer to help contribute to their community as much as they could. Student Silaka Cox is part of an organization that has helped many in Rockaway. “I joined the Rockaway Youth Task Force (RYTF) because I wanted to be a more informed and involved member of the community. After Hurricane Sandy, I helped out at a distribution center with RYTF by helping coordinate donations and volunteers to get supplies to those who were home-bound and elderly, ultimately serving over 500 families,” Senior Silaka Cox states.
Others like Athena Mcdonaldsmith, helped less formally by contributing to their neighborhood center. Athena was not just a volunteer, but she was also one in need of great help. “My family was affected just about the same as you’d hear from everyone else; cars flooded, basement flooded, and no electricity, heat, or hot water for weeks. In the beginning of the day, I would help set up food lines and organize donation piles, and by the end of the day, I myself was on the food lines and going through the donation piles”, Senior Athena explains. A student who is also a senior at the Scholars’ Academy, Casey Shamloo, also helped his community by helping to clear out the basements of others and such. Although he himself wasn’t affected after the storm hit, he was determined to put in the time to help those in need including his friends. “After Sandy hit, the first place I went to before even going back to my own house was Rockaway and I saw a warzone. I spotted David Sullivan getting rid of garbage and belongings that were destroyed so I stopped and started helping him and his family clean up. For about two weeks straight, I went back to Rockaway to help anybody on the streets with my friend Saif,” Casey stated. Even though Hurricane Sandy struck hard, it didn’t stop people including the Scholars’ Academy students from going back to school and moving forward with their lives. “Sandy really hit Rockaway hard, but the pride and strength that has come from this disaster is truly a force to be reckoned with, one that no storm could destroy,” added Athena Mcdonaldsmith.