WCMS students prepare for disaster
On Friday, Feb. 24, students at Woodford County Middle School (WCMS) will finish up a two-week, multi-class course that had them researching natural disasters ranging from tornadoes to blizzards. In science teacher Geoff Sprinkle's class, students spent part of the morning one day making a list of what they'd need if they were snowed in. They also wrote three-paragraph essays explaining how such events affect most everybody in the community. "... They're incorporating their language arts, their math, their science and their social studies classes and putting all these ideas together on a central idea of natural disasters," Sprinkle said. The focus has been on natural disasters likely to happen in Woodford County. The program kicked off Monday, Feb. 13, with a visit from Woodford Emergency Management (EM) Director Drew Chandler and EM deputy Clarinda Sheffler. "So we've got a flood group, a tornado group, an earthquake group, an ice storm and blizzard group. So what they're doing is taking those ideas, learning about their natural disaster, and therefore in my class they're developing an emergency kit that can be used ..." Sprinkle said. Victoria Korchuk and Christian Bowling, two of Sprinkle's students, spent part of the morning leaning over laptops. "We're learning how blizzards can affect population and economy," Victoria said. "... With the economy, people can't get to work. They can't make money. Businesses lose their profits and things like that," Christian said. "People get frostbite, hypothermia if they get left out. It's cold, they have no power, energy, they can't cook - stuff like that." Victoria said their snow kits included blankets, food, water, flashlights and lighters. Christian said he would probably bring the snow kit list home to show his parents. Language arts teacher Brittany Harris said her students worked on papers about their natural disaster, while social studies students gathered information on how it affected the population and economy - and how technology can help victims. On that morning, students from those two classes gathered in the hallway to work together. "I think they were very interested right out of the gate. We did a very good activity in the beginning where all the teachers found a different disaster ... found a video," Harris said. "We didn't tell the kids, 'This is what disaster you're watching,' we just played the video and they got to see all the destruction and they were really engaged from the get-go." Still, the students' newfound knowledge of the dangers of a heavy snow or ice storm didn't seem to have taken the kid out of the kids. Asked how if their feelings about "snow days" had changed, Victoria said, "Not really," and Christian added, "I still like them."