Middle schoolers and NASA help Caribbean

Local - 3/27/2014 6:09 PM by Karen Franklin
WELCH - Thousands of islanders are depending on middle schoolers to get them through two environmental catastrophes. It's all part of a reenactment of the 1997 Hurricane Bob, which barreled down on the Caribbean island of Montserrat during a volcanic eruption.

"Any place, anywhere that has a disaster, somebody sits around a table and says, 'Well, we have to allocate resources to this location,'" Mount View Middle School teacher Ed Evans told WOAY. "'We have to evacuate these people first. We have to make sure these people have propane gas, these people have water to drink.'"

As Team Volcano monitors sensors, Team Hurricane issues advisories so that the Evacuation Team can lead residents to safety.

"It gives them an idea of what's going on in their county and around the world when there are disasters and emergencies, and it gives them something that will open their eyes," said Teresa VanDyke, who works with the county's Emergency Services department.

Thursday's project also gets their adrenaline pumping.

"It's stressful," seventh grader Hailey Dillon told WOAY. "If you get delayed, it's like, 'Oh my God. I got to hurry up and get this done.'" It's like really hard, and then once you get going, it gets easier and easier, and at the end you're just like, 'Gosh.'"

Cole Anderson was on Team Hurricane.

"We have lives on the line," he said. “Kind of a little bit too much pressure on a seventh grader. So we get a little tense sometimes.”

VanDyke described tension in the room.

“They're excited,” she said. “They're nervous. They're stressed. They have all of those emotions that are going on with them right now.”

But they have a NASA commander to help them out.

“We get to actually talk with professionals, and it's not like a joke,” Anderson said.


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