October 17, 2019 by HCDE-Texas
The Houston area has been hit by numerous tropical storms and hurricanes in the past, and the public may not know what happens behind the scenes with emergency personnel. Thanks to a collaboration between multiple agencies, several dozen students were educated about the role of first responders.
More than 40 eighth graders from Cy-Fair ISD’s Hamilton Middle School participated in an interactive exercise with the Harris County Office of Emergency Management and Harris County Department of Education’s Center for Safe and Secure Schools where they formed their own government and planned and recovered from a major weather event.
StormZone is a program out of Miami, FL that teaches students about the science of severe natural hazards, the effects of climate change, and how emergency management agencies work with local governments to prepare for and recover from such disaster.
“I’ve always wanted to bring this program to the rest of the gulf coast especially to students in Texas,” said StormZone Executive Director Lucien C. Proby III. “We look forward to coming out each year and educating a new group of students about preparing and recovering from hurricane-related disasters.
Hamilton Middle School Principal Kim Sempe said that the eighth graders are beginning to look at their high school endorsement program to see what careers interest them and choose high school electives for next year.
“We’re excited to have this unique and special hands-on opportunity with StormZone and the Harris County Office of Emergency Management,” she said. “The challenges students participated in ties into some of eighth grade focus and curriculum. This also gave them the chance to talk to professionals from a variety of professions in one place.”
Eighth-grader Ryan Wolfram portrayed the judge during the mock exercise.
“I was assigned to oversee everyone doing their respective duties and after each challenge I read aloud what each did to solve the problem,” Wolfram said. “I thought it was a great experience and something that I will hold with me forever.”