by LAUREN RUESINK '18
On August 25, Hurricane Harvey crashed into Houston, Texas with destructive force. Although the city is designed to withstand hurricanes, Harvey “decided to park on top of Houston and drop an unreal amount of rain”, says Houston Police Officer Stevens. This deluge made it harder for members of the local police and fire departments to help civilians as it transformed a metropolitan city into a swampland.
Photo: First Responders in Houston. Source: ABC13 Houston Tumblr
There are smaller cities outside of Houston that have also been devastated by Harvey, like “Rockwell closer to the Gulf [which] was completely destroyed” says Officer Stevens. Although Houston is a strong community and no stranger to hurricanes, it needs help recovering from Harvey.
Here at SUA, the Community Service Learning Department created an initiative to assist in restoring Houston in Harvey’s wake. Each Friday in September they have been collected monetary donations for Hurricane Harvey. These donations will go to Catholic charities, including the National Catholic Education Association “to support the schools and the people who are in most desperate need” following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, says Mrs. Kemper, the Director of Community Service Learning. In total this initiative raised $1845.06.
Saint Ursula Academy’s Latin Club, OJCL, is also organizing a service project to adopt a classroom in Kingwood, Texas, just northeast of Houston. Many of the 225 students OJCL is helping have lost their homes. To help them adjust, OJCL members are bringing in 1 subject notebooks, composition notebooks, 1-1.5 inch binders, pens, and pencils. They will send notes of encouragement to the students in Texas along with the supplies. Mrs. Hammond, the OJCL club moderator, was impressed by the club’s enthusiastic and unanimous decision to carry out this service project, which she believes is “a testament to SUA and the values that we have helped instill in our students.” OJCL will be collecting from October 2 through October 11.
These hurricanes have been all over the news in the past couple weeks, and according to Mr. Simcoe, who teaches AP Environmental Science, “there is massive scientific consensus that warmer ocean temperatures are and will continue to make hurricanes more devastating”. It takes a while for human actions to affect the environment, so although we can start trying to reduce global warming now through simple actions like planting more trees and decreasing waste, it is also important to accept the reality of more severe hurricanes and to be prepared for them.
Even though Houston is over a thousand miles away, our actions and generosity now have a direct effect on the hurricane victims. Mrs. Kemper says, “To whom much is given, much is expected” and Saint Ursula is in a great position to help out. Natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey provide the chance for people to step up and show their best colors. Mrs. Kemper is “always astounded by our response to these kinds of situations” and Officer Stevens notes that “the people of Houston are a strong community who quickly turn to help each other.” Through the efforts of those in Texas and throughout America, life in Houston is getting back to normal: school is in session and the LA Angels are playing the Astros in Houston’s stadium.