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West Liberty recognizes school shooting one year later

These local students saw devastation up close while helping with hurricane relief


Graham students traveled to Texas recently to help rebuild a fairground that was damaged in Hurricane Harvey.

The students are FFA members who are dedicated to helping others, Graham teacher Dawn Wallace said. The students flew out of Dayton and took a bus to Refugio, Texas. They were there in November.

MORE: U.S. education leader tours Graham to learn about rural schools

“We watched YouTube videos before our departure, but nothing prepared us for the devastation we saw,” Wallace said. “When driving down (rotute) 77 from Victoria where we stayed the scenery started to change once we entered Refugio.”

The students visited the local school and saw the heavy damage, Wallace said.

“We drove to their school which was hit by the hurricane and tornadoes and saw the destruction there,” she said.” Not only were they undergoing construction, but their industrial shop class lab had been looted.”

Students then went to the fairground and got to work, she said. They cleared debris caused by the storm.

READ: U.S. Department of Education leaders to visit Graham schools

“The roofs and parts of roofs from many buildings were all in the cattle pens,” she said. “Because this had laid like that for so long, landscaping was then needed. We worked for two and a half days cleaning out and putting a roof on the men’s restroom and the hog barn.”

The experience was one that they will never forget, Graham senior Jimmy Stickley said.

“It was a humbling experience and allowed us to open our eyes to the different areas of the country,” he said. “It reminded me of the things I take for granted every day can be easily lost by natural disasters.”

Senior Cheyenne Masters also learned a lot from the trip.

EXTRA: Champaign County students learning to fly, real-world skills

“I appreciated the professors taking time to board our bus and go out in the fields and teach us a lesson on cotton and its production,” she said.



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