A LITTLE HELP
FROM OUR FRIENDS
All Across Texas, Students Pitched in
For Their Peers Affected by Harvey
by Roger White
As school districts up and down the Texas Gulf Coast continue repair, cleanup, and recovery from the
terrible effects of Hurricane Harvey, stories are still coming to light of the unprecedented devastation left in
the wake of the storm’s floodwaters.
State Education Commissioner Mike Morath told the State Board of Education in mid-September that
more than 1.4 million public school students were affected by the hurricane and resulting floods. The
storm hit just as most school districts were gearing up to start the 2017-18 school year.
Some districts, such as Houston ISD, implemented rolling start dates, while others began the school
year in makeshift classrooms housed in gyms and cafeterias.
In Aransas Pass ISD, trustees, many of whom were in shelters themselves, adopted their district budget
over the phone.
Many districts, despite campuses and facilities damaged by the storm, became shelter and care centers
for their communities, housing citizens temporarily and opening up their cafeterias to feed those who had
nowhere else to turn.
As campuses and facilities dried out and repairs began, what also emerged from the floodwaters were
wonderful stories of schools and districts helping their fellow schools in need.
Following are but a few examples of the compassion and generosity shown by the public education
community of Texas in coming to the aid of peers in need.
Hands-On Help from Bonham ISD
Administrators, teachers, and staff members from Bonham ISD in North Texas drove down to Orange,
donned gloves and masks, and dug in, shoulder to shoulder with staff in West Orange-Cove CISD, to help
that district recover from the effects of Harvey.
“It looked like a war zone,” Bonham ISD Superintendent Marvin Beaty told KXII-TV 12 Texoma.
The Bonham group spent four days cleaning a local high school, clearing debris, and helping gut
homes that were uninhabitable. “Physical labor,” Beaty said with a weary laugh. “I have not worked that
hard in a long time.”
The Bonham contingent donated a trailer full of school supplies, water, and other donations from local
businesses. “Everybody hustled the entire time. All you had to do was look around. There was no feel-
ing sorry for yourself,” Beaty said, adding that the experience helped his staff, too. “My team is stronger
because we went.”
The Bonham team also helped Columbia-Brazoria ISD by raising more than $16,000 among Bonham
ISD’s campuses. “It will go to their education foundation so that they can disperse the money freely as
each principal sees fit,” said Beaty. “If we ever have trouble, I have every confidence they’re going to come