by Tamara Michalenko Terry
SPANGLE, Wash., November 18, 2015 - The bright morning sunshine was a nice change from the darkness village students experienced in their homes before heading to Upper Columbia Academy for classes. Many of our village students lost power in the wind storm with no definite answer as to when it will come back. Thankfully, the dorms continued to have power even though many faculty houses are still without warmth and electricity.
John Winslow, principal, was on campus bright and early clearing the pathway for students to enter the Administration building for classes. Following the traditional Wednesday assembly, more than 50 students joined staff working around campus and in downtown Spangle to clear trees and clean up tree limbs and debris that had been thrown around during the wind storm.
“Too bad HOPE day wasn’t today,” said Polly Officer, UCA senior. She was referring to the fact that students and staff had spent the previous day in and around Spokane assisting organizations as part of their quarterly HOPE projects. A 20+ year tradition, HOPE stands for Helping Other People Everywhere. Amanda Goad, HOPE coordinator, was in contact with organizations to see if they could use student help with clean-up for part of the day tomorrow.
Chris Kramer, UCA maintenance director, and his team surveyed the damage to the dorms, greenhouse, faculty houses, trees and campus. “The girls’ dorm southwest corner and the west end of the music building had the most roof damage,” he stated. While covering the damage to the girls’ dorm roof during the storm yesterday afternoon, both Kramer and Grant Williams, assistant maintenance staff, had their glasses literally blown off their faces. So far they’ve only found Williams’ glasses.
In addition to roof damage, there are trees down and pine branches everywhere. One faculty had a tree go down between their eaves. “Considering the amount of wind we had, we are really fortunate,” Kramer said.
The task seemed overwhelming when Kramer started the day, but one-by-one staff started helping and then the students were given the opportunity to assist. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Kramer stated. “I am so appreciative of the help, especially from the students. Their school spirit really came through.”
“Within a matter of hours, staff and students transformed the campus from a wind storm to a peaceful place,” Florence Lacey, UCA VP for Academics, remarked. “We certainly have more that needs to be repaired, but the improvements the staff and students made to the campus was definitely noticed and appreciated.
“It is great for our students to see Christianity in action,” Winslow added. “It speaks to their character when a student sees a need and says, ‘what can I do to help.’ Whether they realize it or not they are exemplifying Matthew 25:35. We couldn’t be more proud of our staff and students’ willingness to help when there was a need.”
Tamara Michalenko Terry is the communication coordinator for Upper Columbia Academy.