McCabe STEM science students making a difference in Houston

McCabe School seventh grade STEM students Kimberly Alvarez, Abigail Marin, Amadeus Nunez, and Jared Marrajo organize some of the supplies they will be sending to a Houston junior high class in relief efforts following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

EL CENTRO — Shortly after news of the devastation Hurricane Harvey left behind in Houston, many in the Imperial Valley community began organizing to ship help out to the people affected by the disaster. McCabe School junior high students have joined in those relief efforts.

Students of the seventh grade STEM class completed their unit on hurricanes and, as a final project, will be sending school supplies to an adopted classroom in Houston in the aftermath of the hurricane.

The STEM class has been tracking real hurricanes during the unit, and Hurricane Harvey was the very first they studied. Students tracked the storm as it made its way over Houston while also learning the facts about hurricanes, what damage they can cause, and organizing projects on how victims can recover from it.

During the unit, students built hurricane-proof houses from materials provided by their teacher and later had to accomplish the same project, but with less materials. Doing this using a business point of view, they created something more durable against hurricane force winds. They also tracked Hurricane Irma, Jose, and Maria shortly after.

Their teacher stated he was inspired by the efforts of another local teacher on Facebook trying to get volunteer classrooms to adopt and send out supplies to schools in Houston following Hurricane Harvey. He saw it as an opportunity from which his own students could benefit. .

“It was a good opportunity for our students to take themselves out of their own shoes and put themselves in real situations that other students, families, whole communities are experiencing,” said the seventh grade STEM teacher. “To just be there to provide some support as we would hope if something would ever happen to us.”

All 180 McCabe seventh grade students will gather everything a junior high student needs for class including pencils, pens, markers, notebooks, binders, and backpacks. Other supplies included tissues, sanitizer, toothpaste, and more. The items will initially go to one class and will likely spread to at least two more.

“I thought, what if I was in Houston and if I was in the hurricane, what would I do if they didn’t give me stuff?” said student Jared Marrajo.

Most of the supplies were purchased by students themselves, but some were also donated.  Kimberly Alvarez donated six backpacks herself, filled with school supplies.

“I feel bad for the kids who have nothing now,” said Alvarez. “When our teacher showed us some news reports, I felt sad because those kids had nothing to do.”

Students will also send letters to the classroom and their teacher added that the McCabe STEM classes will be included in the Houston school’s yearbook this year for their generosity.

The teacher stated this project has allowed kids to connect with others on a personal level and see what their actions can do to help. It also gives them a chance to think about what another person might be feeling in such hard times.

“I’d be devastated,” said Amadeus Nunez when asked how he would react to a hurricane. “If a hurricane ever hit us, we wouldn’t know what to do.”

“I’d be scared, but now I feel like I would sort of know what to do,” said Abigail Marin.

Their STEM teacher said the supplies will be shipping out hopefully Monday or Tuesday with the help of McCabe School District and Parent Teacher Association (PTO). The STEM teacher’s name has been kept confidential at his request.