Students strive to help Hurricane Harvey-hit Mustangs


A student shows off the Strive shirt the program sold as a fundraiser to help a school in Texas that was affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Maggie O'Donnell, Features Assistant Editor

Texas experienced a category 4 hurricane called Hurricane Harvey at the end of August 2017. It left disastrous flooding, caused tornadoes in Texas and in the surrounding states, destroyed homes and left people without food and clean water.  According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, first responders rescued 122,331 people and 5,234 pets and had to evacuate more than 780,000 Texans from their homes.

Here at MHS, numerous fundraisers were conducted to raise money to help the hurricane survivors in Texas. One of the fundraisers was conducted by the Student Strive program.

“Student Strive is a couple of classrooms that serve students with emotional or behavioral disorders, so it’s a more relaxed smaller group of students with an underlying focus of social-emotional skills and regulation,” said Wendy Inman, one of the student Strive teachers.

During the year, Strive organizes different service projects, and this year they decided to sell T-shirts for the Hurricane Harvey survivors as their first big project of the year.

The group decided to pair with Cypress Ranch High School in Cypress, Texas, one of many areas in Texas hit by the hurricane and flooding, and the two schools were connected by Instructional Assistant Kristina Pawlicki.

“Kristina Pawlicki’s brother, who is an alum from MHS, and he teaches at this school down there [in Texas], and they are very excited that we teamed up with them to donate some money to help them out,” said Duke Novak, Strive’s social worker. “And they are going to try to put the money where it is most needed, either with individual families or the school.”

The group sold the T-shirts during the week of Homecoming, and the shirt read “Leave No Mustang Behind” because the mascot for the school in Texas is also a Mustang like the MHS mascot.

The group raised a total of $850 to donate to Cypress Ranch.

“Our first project of the year was a huge success in bringing us together to do something good for our fellow Mustangs at Cypress Ranch,” said a senior Strive student.

The students’ goal was to find a way to help and give back to the areas where the devastation struck, and finding an outlet and an area where they can help were the main focuses.

“Having that connection the main objective was just for them to feel like we can actually do something and we can give other students a way to help where they feel like, despite this devastation, they can do something to make it better. That was the main focus for a lot of the kids, that they were able to find an outlet for wanting to help,” said Inman.

Finding a way to connect to the donation the students were giving and knowing where it would go were important to the Strive program.

“That’s kind of even the discussion we had about when something like this happens; they weren’t sure whether to give money to a big organization, but once they found this specific idea, this goal to help out this school, it narrowed it down for them, and they could be connected to where the money was going,” said Novak.

The Strive program plans on doing a Skype call with the school to see how the money was used and to see the difference the students made.

“That connection, instead of just donating and not knowing– this was really cool to be able to see the process all the way through,” said Novak.

With other projects underway, including a food drive and service time at a dog shelter, the Strive students have their eyes set on making a difference.