High schoolers haul donations to flooding victims in Warsaw

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— Field trips are meant to teach — outside of a classroom — to give a real world experience.

Friday was one memorable field trip for students from Athens Drive High School in Raleigh.

“Just on the bus ride, seeing the wreckage that people had put outside their house — that shows the devastation that happened, the stuff they are having to clear out because their possessions were destroyed,” said Athens Drive senior Tyrone Williamson.

“It’s taught me that everything that I take for granted is actually important,” said Rocco Nociti, the student body president at Athens Drive. “Being able to have a shower at home. Being able to have air conditioning.”

The lesson began earlier this week when Principal Steve Mares reached out to his graduate school classmate and friend Michael Holton, principal of James Kenan High in Warsaw, a town of 3,000 people in western Duplin County. Eight people died in the storm in Duplin County, one of the hardest hit areas in the state.

“Mike was saying that the community just needs help so we decided to get donations of personal hygiene products to bring in and make monetary donations that would go directly to our James Kenan families,” Mares said.

So the Athens Drive students got to work, collecting what was needed and delivering it to a fire station, a central spot for donations in Duplin County.

“The bus was so full it took like 30 minutes to get everything off the bus,” Holton said.

They collected all those supplies in just two days.

“I have goose bumps just sitting here,” Mares said. “The quality of people in our school family, the parents, the students and the staff. It just shows we are together.”

“When the water recedes,” Holton added, “you wonder if it is just going to be you taking care of everything but as you can see there are so many people volunteering and having interest in coming here and helping.”