The damage of Hurricane Harvey to Flour Bluff ISD was minimal compared to neighboring districts in Port Aransas, Rockport and Aransas Pass. Our good fortune gave this community a unique opportunity to reach out and ensure that education and sense of normalcy were a priority for students in the Coastal Bend area who have been left without schools to call home.
“Days after Hurricane Harvey came on shore, we made the decision, no matter what, students displaced by the storm would have a school to call home,” said FBISD Superintendent Brian Schuss.
The District and staff from Port Aransas ISD quickly joined forces to assist families in enrolling their children at Flour Bluff ISD until their own schools were ready to welcome them back.
“I immediately thought Port Aransas students and parents needed as much comfort and stability as possible during this time,” said Marilee Henson, Flour Bluff HS Registrar and Port Aransas High School alumni. “I began reaching out to them in any way I could to let them know they would see a familiar face here at FBHS and that we would welcome them with open arms. If it gave them one less thing to worry about, then I had helped in some way.”
The District has registered nearly 250 students from Districts closed due to severe damage resulting from the Category 4 storm. Most of the students visited the Flour Bluff High School Cafeteria one week after Hurricane Harvey made landfall to register in their new school.
“We held a day-long registration at the High School so the students would feel welcomed and comfortable,” said Schuss. The Port Aransas community is a very close-knit community and many had not seen each other since before the storm.”
Businesses, organizations, individuals and communities reached out to provide resources for the displaced students by donating school supplies, backpacks, spirit shirts and other items to ensure students had what they needed to begin the school year in a new school.
A community of neighbors from the Waterside Estates neighborhood in Missouri City in the Houston area knew they wanted to do something when they heard that Flour Bluff ISD would be taking in many of the displaced students.
“It started as a challenge to my friends,” said Brandi Jones, a teacher and Waterside Estate resident. “I sent letters of encouragement to 10 of my friends to fill 100 backpacks.”
The challenge grew to a Saturday of filling backpacks with neighbors, high school students and community members who donated supplies or filled backpacks with supplies, books and other items. In all, the group pulled together 220 backpacks.
Their support didn’t stop there. Brandi Jones and Jamie Cloma, both teachers who spearheaded the school supply drive, drove the items three hours to deliver the backpacks directly to Flour Bluff ISD.
“We also were impacted by Hurricane Harvey; our neighborhood was submerged due to flooding waters,” said Cloma. We didn’t want what was happening in Houston to get overshadowed by the devastation in these smaller communities.”
“The outpouring of support for our district and these families has been inspiring,” said Schuss. “I have even found inspiration in our own students who have spent their time working in the hardest hit areas to assist in the rebuilding process.”
Schuss added, “We are excited to welcome our new friends from Port Aransas, Rockport, Aransas Pass and other areas and hope they will always feel a part of the Flour Bluff Hornet Family.”
Flour Bluff ISD wants to extend our ‘Thank You’ to City of Corpus Christi, AEP, H-E-B, Del Mar College, Flint Hills Resources, Wal-Mart, Corpus Christi Police Department, the Waterside Estates neighborhood, Cup Graphics, the Gonzalez family, Cedar Park Vista Ridge HS and many others for their generous support of our students and district in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.