On Wednesday and Fridays I volunteer at the girls school, mainly in the library but in other areas as well.
Today started out just like any other Friday. I woke up, showered and got dressed, got the girls ready and fed, and off to school we went.
School started at 9 and I was loving my first day back to school when a storm moved through our area. My weather radio on my phone had warned that there was going to be a severe storm so I wasn’t surprised when I started to hear rain on the skylights and the thunder became loud. I went into the hall to peek out the door and saw that it was black out and rain was coming down sideways. I went back to my computer and reported what I saw to the librarian. That is when the day changed. (cue dramatic music)
All of a sudden the lights flickered and then it was dark. You could hear a few screams from startled children and then the back up generator kicked on. My computer and the librarian’s were still on along with one single light in the library. Hall lights were sparse, but lit the halls enough. The custodian who happened to be in the library at the time (who had also been whispering ‘come on generator’ when the power went out) went rushing out of the library to make sure things were going as they should.
I wondered about my girls. They really didn’t like storms and were probably scared. Running to them wouldn’t do any good…I won’t always be there when it storms and they had teachers to care for them. I squelched my want to find my youngin’s and pull them to me. It helps that I know all the teachers and the girls’ teachers know them well.
A few children were crying and they were brought out into the hallways where the lights were on. A couple of the noon supervisors took them walking around the school to show them that everything was okay and they went ‘searching’ to see what rooms had lights on.
The day became a comedy to me as it unfolded.
Some classes had no light but a running computer. Some no computer but one light. Others had full lights and no computer. Yet some were without anything. It was the luck of the draw, I guess you could say.
Teachers were trying to come up with ways to teach with what they had. Yes a few were entertaining with only the hall lights. Bathrooms were especially dark with no windows and, therefore, bathroom breaks were supervised so that no one would become scared.
Staff were scrambling to let everyone know what was going on as the PA system wasn’t working. The noon supervisors and principal were monitoring things throughout the school with the school’s walkie talkies.
Some big things, other then the fact that some classes had no lights and some had all lights, that were found to be not included correctly on the back-up generator were… The main office computer, the phone system, and the oven that cooks the lunches.
Yes, that is right, the oven was’t working. And it was getting close to lunchtime. Fortunately, cell phones don’t need electricity. Calls were made to the main Food Service building and it was decided that they would deliver hot food. I thought we should have just ordered a bunch of pizzas and called it a day. Darn budget cuts! (Side note: I also thought we should have routed power to a popcorn maker and the inflate-a-screen in the gym and made a movie day out of it. It could have been an educational movie with a Q and A at the end….)
Lunch was served late but was served none the less. I never got to ask if the folks delivering the lunches were wearing superhero capes, but I’m sure they were.
The power was out from 10:30am until about 2:45pm. It was impressive how everyone came together and things got done. Learning happened, just not like every other day. Today the kids learned that sometimes you just have to make due with what you have and laugh about it. It is a day that none will forget too soon.
I learned that you shouldn’t ask a room full of teachers if they think that day 2 of school is a foreshadowing of the year to come. That, they don’t find very funny at all.