Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana hard on August 26, but the school made sure that the school, faculty, and students were able to fully get back to normal routine both physically and mentally.
Even if school seems back to normal now, it is only due to how much effort the faculty and staff put into restoring balance after the damage inside and outside of school had affected students' way of learning. Members of the St. Martin's community worked nonstop on how to get everything from technology to the school exterior back to where they were before.
Frank Gendusa, Interim Head of Upper School, stayed in the New Orleans area when the hurricane hit. He worked with other staff members who stayed in town, getting the school back to schedule and creating a safe environment once again.
“[The maintenance staff] got most of it repaired and working for us before we got back in,” Gendusa stated. “And our tech department really did a nice job of getting the internet back up for us.”
After classes resumed, all students were given a chance to take online classes and receive hard copies of work if they were affected by the hurricane. All faculty that were affected were given a chance to take time to themselves and work things out.
The administration also worked on how to communicate with the St. Martin’s community about the lost two weeks. Ford Dieth Jr., Interim Head of School, and the board focused on doing what was best for the community and the school itself.
“We had food for people, we had water for people,” Dieth said. “Just having everybody being able to be here, to be together, at various times [...] We met, the division heads met, and we talked very very thoughtfully and intentionally about that.”
The actual damage to the school facilities themselves was minor. However, some trees on campus fell, and the walkway in the Lower School and roof shingles were damaged.
Administrators and staff members came back to school before anyone else to clean up the school and get the school back to its spirited self.
“A week before we were able to open up, [we were here] feeding fish, watering plants, helping with maintenance, talking to our cleaning crew who was cleaning up and doing deep cleanings, and taking down trees and bagging up debri,” Dieth said. “All of those kinds of things just making sure everything was set.”