Students, staff adapt after flooding disrupts week

During the passing period between fourth and fifth period, the usually packed commons had very few students walking through it. Testing was canceled Wednesday, and students were told absences would not count against exam exemptions or perfect attendance.

Kathleen Ortiz, Staff Writer

With the AP test days away, calculus teacher Jim Dang had only three students in his third period class reviewing. Situations like Dang’s were common on Wednesday as less than 10% of the student body showed up on campus for classes.

Humble ISD announced late Tuesday night after flooding that AP and EOC tests were postponed. They said students who stayed home on Wednesday would not be penalized as far as exam exemptions and perfect attendance were concerned. With the Kingwood Park area taking on approximately 10 inches of water on Tuesday, many students opted to stay home or spent the day dealing with flooded homes.

For those who went to school, some reviewed for upcoming tests while others watched movies.

“It’s been very calm and quiet and peaceful,” senior John Lawson said. “It’s been very good. I’ve done nothing in every single class, except in first period we watched Aquaman.”

The trouble started at about 1:20 p.m. on Tuesday when the power flickered off and on. Associate principal Brian Johnson announced students would not be allowed to leave their classes until further notice. Some students were picked up immediately. With heavy rains and flooding occurring, however, that wasn’t possible for everyone. Staff remained in classes with students throughout the evening.

Around 6:30 p.m., the water started rising in the parking lot near the football field. Students were allowed to move their cars to higher ground and then return immediately to class. Students returned to classes soaked from the downpour.

By 8:30 p.m., 125 students were still at Kingwood Park.

Johnson continually updated students on the intercom throughout the night. With the flooding at Woodland Hills Drive and Northpark Drive, only parents or buses were allowed to take students off campus. Local news reports estimated 400 houses in Kingwood were damaged in the flood. 

“Yesterday we knew it was supposed to rain, but to my knowledge the weather guys did not predict that we were going to get the amount of rain we got in a short period of time,” Johnson said.

During the wait, the cafeteria staff provided chips. They later cooked a hot meal for the students and staff. Teachers who were not monitoring students became runners for call slips while teachers with students put on movies, handed out their own snacks or went to help in other areas of the building while their students relaxed.

“I was here for 12 hours,” freshman Alexandria Spradlin said. “It was stressful, but it was fun because I got to hang out with my friends. We played Just Dance, watched some Titanic, basically just messed around the entire time.”

Eventually most of the students were released. Two students ended up spending the night on campus with administrators on duty.

The school sent out a release at 9:45 p.m. stating that school would be held on Wednesday. The US History and Biology EOCs were rescheduled for Thursday. The English Literature and Composition AP test was postponed until May 24.

Kingwood Park emailed and tweeted out surveys to find out how many families and staff members were impacted by the flood.

“What I learned from Harvey that really helped was how to gather information and get help to people that need help,” Johnson said. “That’s why we were able to get that survey out first thing this morning.”

All after school activities for Wednesday were canceled. The weather for Thursday and Friday is being closely monitored at the district level.

Tuesday’s unexpected weather event united students and staff. Figuring out where to keep students, how to feed them and how to safely release them, required the help of many people.

“It was very stressful, it really was, but you try to stay calm,” assistant principal Dr. Donna Papadimitriou said. “If you stay calm everyone else around you does too.”