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The city of Jackson in Breathitt County after the flooding there in March

Education students help flood-stricken areas in Eastern Kentucky

Jackie Meade and Dustin BlairStudent teachers from Morehead State's Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education are going the extra mile to help their communities recover from recent flooding.   

Dr. Antony Norman, dean of the Volgenau College of Education, said students have been working hard this semester to teach in virtual and in-person classrooms simultaneously. Many have also been donating their time to provide help to their communities in the wake of flooding in the region.   

Senior Brooke Halsey, an elementary and special education, learning and behavioral disorders major who is student teaching in Carter County, has traveled home to Breathitt County on weekends to help clean-up efforts. Working with family members, Halsey helped her neighbors clean their homes and sort through their belongings. She also collected and donated clothing and shoes, getting her university supervisor, Malinda Fitch, involved in collecting donations. Halsey also donated time to help her church clean and distribute food boxes to the community.  

"My subdivision, along with others in the area, had to be evacuated due to the quick-rising waters. Fortunately, my home was spared. Many others, however, were not so lucky," Halsey said.    

Dustin Blair of Paintsville, a middle grades education and special education, learning and behavioral disorders major, and his cooperating teacher, Jackie Meade of Johnson County Middle School, converted their daily attendance into a virtual check-in with students. As students reported in, the pair relayed students' flood relief needs to the school's Family Resource Center, which coordinated relief efforts. Blair later followed up with students to check on their progress.  

After spending his weekends since the flood working to clear mud and muck from the Little League baseball field and buildings, Paintsville Independent student-teacher Jordan Ray, a senior middle grades education and special education, learning and behavioral disorders major from Prestonsburg, summed up the reasons behind their active participation.   

"I played ball on that field when I was a kid," Ray said. "It's my way of giving back."    

"To me, serving and empowering our surrounding region and its rural communities remains the heart of Morehead State and Volgenau College. And I am so proud of how our students stepped up to support their home communities in a time of great need," said Norman. "They are keeping Morehead State's heart alive and healthy through their actions, and I like to think that if we keep our heart strong, our hands will be able to reach, and our feet will be able to go, farther."  

To learn more about MSU's Volgenau College of Education programs, visit www.moreheadstate.edu/education, email Norman at adnorman@moreheadstate.edu or call 606-783-2162.
Top photo: Residents in parts of Jackson in Breathitt County were forced to evacuate their homes following flooding there in March. Photo submitted by Brooke Halsey.

Bottom photo: MSU senior Dustin Blair, right, and his Cooperative Teacher, Jackie Meade of Johnson County Middle School, coordinated with their school's family resource center to help students affected by recent flooding in the region.