News

Hurricane Sandy Relief

By SARVANI KURUGANTI, junior

Leaving everything behind and returning to nothing seems unimaginable, but for those who
faced adversity as a result of Hurricane Sandy, this disaster became reality.

The spirit of community that has prevailed during these trying times has caused many people to open their homes to one another. But when news channels first began broadcasting the upcominghurricane rapidly approaching the East Coast, the initial reaction
was one of excitement: which tests would be postponed? How many days of school would be missed? The severity of the storm was largely unanticipated.

On October 19, Superstorm Sandy began as a tropical wave in the Caribbean, quickly developing into a tropical storm in just six hours. Sandy made landfall in the United States about ten days later, buffeting Atlantic City with winds of eighty miles per hour. The storm’s intensity had dropped to a Category 1 storm, but its impact was still largely devastating due to a combination of cold fronts that held the storm in place.

Streets were flooded, trees and power lines were knocked down, and Atlantic City’s famed boardwalk was ripped apart. Over six million households across the Northeast lost power, forcing citizens residing in disaster-hit areas to look to one another for support. Members of public service gas and electric companies, such as Elizabethtown Gas and PSE&G worked around the clock to restore power. Though Edison generally returned to normal after a week, many cities near the shore were faced with severe devastation. As soon as the Hawks returned to their routine lives, students made efforts to help those that need.

JP Stevens adopted Union Beach Memorial High School, and the Student Council collected over $6000 in donations. Student Council President Zala Jalili explained, “My main motto is ‘service before self.’ By collecting goods, we gained a new perspective on how rough the storm was.”

Other organizations have also held projects to raise money. The National Honor Society arranged “Care Packages” with toiletries and school supplies. JPaws has been gathering pet food, toys, and other items for animals affected by the storm. “Many pets were left homeless, and a handful of shelters were shut down. We want to make a difference not just in the lives of human victims, but in the lives of those who cannot speak as well,” explained junior Meghna Bhattacharya. Students have banded together to visit
Union Beach and assist with cleanup efforts, picking up trash, reorganizing pantries, and
wrapping Christmas presents. Junior Sudeepti Vedula commented, “This time of need has allowed JP students to experience a sense of unity. We all came together to help others out.” Every bit of effort made a difference. Though the storm was a nightmare, it showed the Hawks’ true colors: those of charity and service.

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