More than 100 Ponder HS students clean up Ray Roberts Mariana weeks after tornado

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Students helped pick up trash and debris left behind by the tornado. They even found pictures they hope to give back to the owners one day.

SANGER, Texas — Lake Ray Roberts Mariana was one of the areas hit hard by the EF-3 tornado that ripped through parts of North Texas more than two weeks ago.

Still, the damage is there. RV campers tipped over and pieces of foundation from buildings flung like paper.

On Wednesday, more than 100 Ponder High School student-athletes met at the Mariana, not to boat or fish but to help clean.

“I’ve never seen anything this bad,” said Taelynn Harrison. 

She’s on the bass fishing team with the high school. Harrison said the lake is where the team competed, and it holds a special place in her heart.

“Just two or three months ago this place was just up and running…beautiful. We had fisherman out here,” she said looking at the now, almost leveled area.

She said she and 12 teammates got together and wanted to do something to help the owners clean up the area.

“We thought we could and then we came out here and we saw, and we said we’re going to need a lot more help,” said Harrison.

Help was a phone call away. A parent got in touch with Coach Marcus Schulz, the athletic director for the high school. He then asked some of the athletes training this summer to help clean up some of the wreckage.

“More than 200 bags of trash have been loaded,” said Schulz. “I thought we’d get two buses full, but we ended up getting 50-60 students to 130,” he said.

They picked up trash and tossed debris into wheel barrels. Students even found pictures they hoped to give back to the owners one day.

“It just heals your heart a little bit after everything you’ve been through still having these,” said Presley Calhoun.

Student athletes from football players to girls’ volleyball showed up to support.

“Forget about me, love you,” said Makson Allred. “That’s our mentality. It’s our family mentality and we want to come out here and help our neighbors.”

Students stayed and cleaned up as much as possible. Some of the seniors plan to organize more dates to come out and continue helping clean up.