Adventist Education Helps
alm the Storm
Passion for students shines through devastation Aug. 10, 2020 started out as an ordinary day for the people of east-central Iowa. Students, parents and teachers were eager to start school after five months away due to COVID-19. At Andrews Christian Academy (the Seventh-day Adventist elementary school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa) teachers Julie Olson, Ashley Schebo and Kelley Glazier were preparing for the first day of school by taping Xs on the sidewalk to show proper social distancing for the students when they arrived. No storms were forecast for the day, and no sirens
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were blaring to warn of the impending disaster. There was no apparent cause for concern when clouds suddenly rolled in—until winds began to blow so strongly that they caused a tree in front of the school to bend over and send branches flying, denting Mrs. Olson’s car and smashing her windshield. The teachers raced to the safety of the storeroom at the back of the school to wait out the storm and then
fought to keep the door shut by pushing against it as the storm intensified. The winds and rain roared and increased to hurricane strength. The storm, called a derecho, recorded sustained wind speeds of 110 to 140 mph. Chaos and destruction The storm was still raging when Mrs. Olson received a phone call from a very frightened student. This
student heard the same roaring wind and rain, saw the lights and power go off, felt the rumbling and creaking of the building he and his family were in, and then watched as the roof of his apartment building was lifted with a massive jolt. He needed to hear his teacher’s reassuring voice. Mrs. Olson made sure he was headed to a lower level, then prayed and gave him the reassurance and encouragement he
(left) Students, families and friends of Andrews Christian Academy have traditionally gathered for a back-to-school party in the Olson’s 100-year-old barn. This photo from last year’s event will be the final one, as the historic structure was destroyed by the derecho. (right) This apartment building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, lost its entire roof during the Aug. 10 derecho, leaving many families without shelter.