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Beyond the Bubble: Students’ Families Endure Hurricane Sandy

Deerfield felt very little of the damage spread by hurricane Sandy. The most the student body experienced was an afternoon in the dorms with box dinners while the wind whistled outside and heavy rain took down a few branches and stripped the trees of leaves.

But, some of the families of students were not as fortunate. Shanya Hopkins ’14, a resident of New York City, one of the places hit hardest, said, “My family lost power, wifi and cable for two days after Sandy, and it just so happens that a branch from a tree in our backyard fell through my bedroom window. Also, my family was stuck in the house until Sunday because a lot of gas stations in the city were closed, and my parents had no way of getting gas. My little brother was out of school until this past Monday.”

New York was not alone in sustaining serious damage. Dave Lucente ’14 described how Sandy affected his home state, Rhode Island.

“I live on a hill so my house got lucky, but the entire beach community in Rhode Island was wrecked,” he said. “I know a lot of people whose beach houses were swept away, and a bunch of beach clubs were destroyed, and the general damage to roads is ridiculous.”

Lucente added that the beach towns, such as Narragansett, Newport, and Watch Hill, “are an important source of revenue for the state, so it could pose bigger problems in the near future.”

Farther down the coast, wide power outages rocked Connecticut, and many students’ siblings were out of school for over a week. The lost time will cut into their spring and summer breaks. Greenwich native Blair Johnson ’14 described how her “friend’s house completely burned down because an electrical wire broke and caused a fire.”

Although Sandy was the largest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded and the second costliest, it was only a category 1 storm when it hit the New Jersey coastline.

Princeton native Kelsey Gallagher ’13 reported, “Although my home did not bear the brunt of the storm, my neighborhood lost power, cell phone service and home phone service for six days.”

Teddy Wackerman ’13, who also hails from New Jersey, said 2,000 students in the local high school had classes in a movie theater in town.

New Jersey also experienced “odd and even gas rationing” and Governor Christie moved Halloween to November 5th.

“A man in Princeton died when a tree fell on him,” said Gallagher.

“I feel pretty disconnected from it all,” she continued, “My friends keep sending me crazy, scary pictures, but it’s so hard to imagine that such devastation is so close to home. The magnitude of it all still hasn’t hit me. For New Jersey, the shore is so much a part of our culture and our economy. Imagine what people in Massachusetts would do if they lost the Cape, Nantucket, or Martha’s Vineyard.”

 

 

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