Snow + Rain + Sun = Flood
Photos and story by Rebecca Huebsch-Perham High School student photographer
Snow + Rain + Sun = Flood. This is a different type of equation for Perham High School students and teachers as they battled the elements and raced to beat the floods in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Students took off from the high school early Thursday morning ready to work. Perham High School sent about 390 students and teachers, occupying eight buses, to help with the sand bagging efforts in the Red River Valley.
Even before the school planned to go, a group of students traveled down the highway to help fill and lay sand bags. However this is not a first for the school, in 1997 PHS also sent students to help stop the waters from damaging the surrounding buildings. With flooding expected to reach an all time high, cresting at about 42 ft. there is a huge need for volunteers and anyone willing to help.
Students stepped up to help fill this need by building dikes to save homes. Students spent their day hard at work filling, hauling, and laying sandbags. Though the work was hard, with sandbags weighing somewhere around 40 pounds, students stayed positive. Student Elena Arvig said, "It really says something about the school that students came together to help complete strangers and had a great attitude about it. It was cool to see everyone working hard and not complaining about the cold or being tired because everyone knew we were doing something important." Students worked alongside locals and even the residents of the homes they were saving. Students said that being able to work and talk with the locals made the experience seem all the more worthwhile and important. Owners of the saved homes said that the area flooded so fast that they couldn't have possibly saved their homes without the volunteer help.
On the way home students witnessed yet another side effect of the floods as the buses spent about an hour caught in traffic trying to leave the city. Many homeowners and locals are choosing to evacuate in order to avoid the waters and the possibility of being stranded.
The city stills needs a fair share of volunteers before the river is expected to crest on Friday or Saturday, beating the record flood of 1997. Because the river is expected to crest so high many of the dikes must be raised another foot. Even after a long day of sand bagging a group students returned to the Fargo Moorhead area to continue helping with the flood efforts.