Hurricane Sandy storms the East Islip School District
October 28, 2012 is a day that will persist infamously in the memories of those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. On that day, the storm hit land causing tens of billions of dollars in damage; wind tore trees from the earth, wires snapped and littered the streets, and homes were damaged by flooding beyond repair. A storm of this magnitude has not reared up on Long Island’s shores in decades and few residents, if any have been left untouched. Be it by property damage, a power outage or the gas shortage, everyone on the Island has been cast reeling for normality as a result of the storm.
Sandy hit hard enough to close out the East Islip School District for a full week, a nearly unprecedented occurrence, certainly among members of the student body. “I believe the school was closed Monday [October 29] because of the harsh weather and the issue of bringing the students in safely,” said Principal William Brennen. “It is likely that the decision to close school for the rest of the week was because of the severe flooding that remained for the students south of Montauk Highway.” Principal Brennen admits that the decision to close the schools is one made by the Superintendent, yet offers that another reason he can infer for the closings would be that “a large portion of the staff is still without power and some may have to deal with their houses being condemned. It would be more of a hardship were the school to remain open.”
Senior Andrew Loizedes feels the time off was an excellent idea and commends the school district on “taking the right approach on how to handle this situation.” Senior Steven Vecerina agrees saying “the week was perfect.... The week was a great amount of time to allow some people to get power back, clean up, and do anything else they needed to do.” Students and staff are undoubtedly still recovering from the devastation Sandy wrought, whether they’re doing cleanup, awaiting the return of electricity, or attempting to repair any damages to their homes.
In order to give some aid to the families devastated by the hurricane, the East Islip school district offered free breakfast and lunch to the student body from Tuesday, November 6 to Friday, November 9. According to Principal Brennen, the school board likely decided this gesture would be a good way to provide families with some small amount of relief. “Along with the free lunches, the district is changing the annual holiday food drive to a combination holiday/hurricane relief drive. It’s really important that this year’s drive has a big turn out so that we can support both groups this year.”
Students of East Islip were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. “I’d say I got hit pretty hard,” said East Islip Senior James Burke. “I lost power for more than a week, I lost a few trees, damaged my pool and three fences around my house.”
“A neighboring tree crushed our fence and garden. We only lost power for one night, but the gas issue is hitting us hard since I am very busy and need to get around a lot,” said junior Janine Alto.