would be ready and safe for students. We also served over
32,000 meals out of our schools that were in operation to our
community members and VISD families,” Jaklich said.
On September 7, the Texas Department of Agriculture
announced that it granted a waiver for the district to feed all
students for free until September 30.
“Heroes emerged from all facets of the community: children helping their parents with restoring their homes, community members engaging in work activities on school grounds,
and people providing services, manpower, and finances to
assist VISD and the city of Victoria regain its structure quickly,”
said Victoria ISD Trustee Michael DiSanto.
The massive cleanup effort was not only arduous—it was
dangerous. Access to several buildings was blocked by downed
electrical lines and poles, creating extremely hazardous conditions. Work at times was slow-going; the hours were long and
Despite the dangers, and in the face of a seemingly overwhelming task, the town’s grit and resilience shined through.
“Our community has been unbelievable. Despite the fact
that Victorians were left without electricity and running water,
community members assisted campuses from day one,” Jaklich
said. “With the tremendous commitment and dedication of our
VISD maintenance staff, other VISD personnel, board of trust-
ees, contracted business service companies, and out-of-town
and community volunteers, we were able to tackle this chal-
lenge and provide the opportunity of returning back to school
much sooner than expected.”
As school district faculty and staff members worked to
clear debris, community volunteers arrived armed with chain-
saws, pole saws, tractors, trailers, generators, rakes, and gloves.
Volunteers from every corner worked to clear playgrounds,
parking lots, and school yards. People appeared with ice chests
full of water and food to serve the cleanup crews.
Donations Pour In
As the skies cleared and Victorians pulled together as one
to get the town back on its feet, they found helping hands
reaching out—from schools and communities all across Texas
and the nation.
“Schools from throughout Texas and the United States
reached out to us. Donations included new school supplies
for our students, as well as clothing, cleaning supplies, food,
and much more,” Jaklich said. “Other schools collected money
to help our elementary schools replace classroom carpets and
library books. We also had districts who reached out to us and
helped us replace damaged textbooks.”
Additionally, churches and charitable groups from towns
across the map made trips to Victoria, bringing supplies for
families and students.
“To date, we have received $480,374.91 worth of supplies,
goods, and donations to Victoria ISD,” Jaklich said. “We are so
proud and inspired by the exceptional fortitude and kindness
displayed by these champions for our children during these
most trying times.”
Assistance came also in the form of state and federal
grants and waivers designed to help districts with emergency
needs. One example is that of the district’s Torres Elementary,
which received a Rebuilding Texas Libraries Grant (offered
to Gulf Coast-area libraries affected by the storm). The grant
will help fund replacement books, area rugs, and furniture
in the school’s library, which were damaged or destroyed by
“Thank you for your continued support,” said Torres Elementary School Librarian Pamela Zimmerman. “We look forward to rebuilding our library. Together, we are Torres Strong!”
Victoria ISD Trustee DiSanto noted that the generosity and
support shown by those who came to his district’s aid will not
The Victoria East High School Titan baseball squad teamed
up with local radio station Q92 to hand out free water in the
parking lot of a local business.