School-age children of families affected by Hurricane Harvey have turned to Rio Grande Valley school districts to continue their education.
In Donna, 11 students have enrolled at different campuses across the district since the storm made its way to the Texas gulf coast. They come from communities within the Houston metropolitan area including Bellaire, Kingwood and Humble.
Fifteen-year-old Angela Herrera was among them. She started classes at Donna North High School Sept. 5. She said her family fled from their hometown of Humble and drove to Donna where they are staying with her aunt. “I was worried the whole time,” Angela said. “I was thinking about my friends and pet dog. We left her behind. She takes care of our house so I’m worried about her.”
Angela said her family has not heard anything about their dog or whether there is any damage to their home, but her friends are doing fine. “One of my friends said her neighborhood got flooded but her house wasn’t damaged. My other friends are doing okay too.”
Angela fought back tears when she talked about the images she has seen on television. Neighborhoods remain flooded and homes and businesses have been wiped out. “I’m worried for the people over there because that’s where I’ve lived all my life. I feel like crying every time I see all the destruction on TV.”
Angela’s mother, Nuvia Herrera, is anxious to find out if their home made it through the storm. “My neighbor told me that our house looks fine from the outside, but I’m concerned about the roof and the damage that may have happened inside,” Herrera said. “One thing is for sure — there is no electricity. We plan to travel back to Humble in the next few days to see for ourselves.”
For now, all the family can do is pray that everything is alright. Meanwhile, Angela is doing her best to adjust to a new city and school. “It’s been really hard because I don’t know anybody, but I’m meeting new people and making new friends,” she said.
Donna North High School Principal Bernadette Caceres said her campus is available to help. “We feel for Angela and her family and the many others whose lives have been turned upside down because of the storm,” Caceres said. “That’s why we are going to do everything we can to help Angela transition into her new environment at Donna North. We want her to feel welcomed and at home.”
Angela is thankful for DISD’s warm welcome and generous donations to those impacted by the storm. She has since learned that several campuses from throughout the district collected canned goods, bottled water and other items to hurricane relief efforts. “I’m so grateful that they are helping,” she said. “It’s great to know that there are so many people who care.”