Students in North Stonington are ready to help rebuild and are headed to Texas.
Five students at Wheeler High School embarked on the special mission on Thursday, helping residents rebuilding following Hurricane Harvey.
"It's a month that we've really been planning this, so that it's actually happening, in such a short amount of time is actually crazy,” said Kelsey Marcaurele, of the 2018 Gives Back Club.
Kelsey, Chris, Anna, Kevin, and Matthew are all part of Wheeler High School's class of 2018 Gives Back Club, which is a group dedicated to doing just that.
"Throughout the years, the students would often say to me, 'oh, Mrs. Schilke. We'd love to go to Haiti, there was an earthquake. I'd smile and say, ‘that's not really realistic’,” said Rebecca Schilke, a reading specialist at Wheeler middle and high schools.
Thanks to the principal and Board of Education’s approval, this trip to Texas became a reality.
Schilke is a co-adviser for the club, and said the students will be working with the faith-based organization Samaritan’s Purse.
"We'll be cleaning out debris from homes that were damaged by the storm, lots of sheet rock that was water logged that needs to be torn out and removed, and we'll be working with a job coordinator, somebody who's down there on site,” Schilke said.
The seniors and two University of Rhode Island students will be in Pearland, a community just south of Houston.
"I think this place really needs our help and once we go down there, we're going to learn a lot more about what we have and what we take for granted,” Chris Orr said.
They had to pay for their airfare, but, used a GoFundMe campaign to cover the additional costs.
"We have gotten so much support from our community and our school, just altogether it's been amazing,” said Anna Hundt.
Their principal said she couldn’t be prouder.
"I will tell you, since I met this group when they were in 8th grade, they've always pushed the envelope and they've always wanted to do more -- and they're doing it! I'm so proud,” said Principal Kristen St. Germain.
The students will be returning back to Connecticut on Tuesday.
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