Sunday, February 2, 2014

#Snowpocalypse 2014
at Hoover High School
(my version from Twitter)

So the last few days have been a little crazy to say the least! Tuesday started out as a normal day at Hoover High School. The local weather stations were predicting snow south of the Hoover area and had warned of only a light dusting in the area around Hoover High School. The light dusting began around 9:30 and it did not take long before we knew that the weather prediction had been a little off or a lot off in this case. Below you will see Ms. Cash's class in the HHS courtyard when the snow began.

As you can see in the next photo, it did not take long for the snow to cover the courtyard at Hoover High School. Hoover City Schools made a decision to allow our student drivers to leave HHS around 10:30 and announced that buses would leave at approximately 11:15. As the snow continued to fall, I began to get a little nervous. My husband works in downtown Birmingham and I knew that I needed to try to get my 3YO and my 9YO if possible. Mr. Hulin, our principal, allowed me to leave to go and get my 3YO at his daycare.

I got into my car at 10:45. My son's daycare is one mile from HHS. It took me 2 hours to get to Discovery Days Preschool. During this time, snow continued to fall and the streets were already white. As I traveled to Stadium Trace, I passed numerous vehicles that had already been abandoned due to being stuck. Central Office and HCS Transportation were sending emails alerting schools that bus drivers could not make it to the bus lot and shortly an email was sent that the roads were already impassable in most places around Hoover. Although I had made it to my 3YO, I wondered if there was anyway to make it to my 9YO at Bluff Park Elementary. As I crossed HWY 150, I realized I needed to find a safe place to park and wait for assistance. This was the scene looking toward Target on 150.
I knew that Bluff Park would take care of Whitt and that he was safe. I needed to get back to HHS if I could, so I sent a text to Officer Chris Bryant, our HHS SRO, and he came to the rescue and took Will and I back to HHS. While on the road, I began to see our coaching staff taking students home on our school Gators and Mules. I found out when I got back to school that these students were some of our students with medical issues who lived nearby. I also learned that HPD was coming take all of our special needs students home to be with their families. Our School Resource Officers and our special education teachers did an outstanding job getting all of their students taken care of.
Around 4:00 I got a call that my friend was going to attempt to get home and was going to take Whitt with her. I could pick him up at her house when I could get there. Around 4:00 I decided to brave the roads in an attempt to get to Whitt. I knew that behind at HHS with a 3YO overnight would not be a positive experience for anyone :) I made it to my exit (about 4 miles from HHS) and picked up Whitt around 7:00. We had some additional issues, but finally made it home with the assistance of a neighbor with a 4 wheel drive around 8:30. Although I was home and safe, I could not stop thinking about the incredible staff at Hoover and how they showed such dedication and compassion by staying with our students who were not able to get home. At this time, I turned to Twitter, Facebook, and texting to keep updated on what was going on at the HHS #lockin 2014. I was so impressed by the positive messages being sent out from teachers and staff at HHS and from literally every school in the district. The staff could not say enough about our awesome cafeteria staff who not only prepared wonderful meals, but also kept the coffee hot! What an amazing group of HHS employees.  Here is a sample of these positive messages from Twitter...

As you can see, educators from other schools were tweeting the staff at HHS to check on their children due to making the choice to stay with their students. You will also see that humor was one way to deal with a tough situation. The blame quickly shifted from the weather men to Terry Smith, recently retired Associate Principal, who works on scheduling for HHS.

As the hours passed... the T-Shirt designs began to appear....

Many teachers posted amazing tweets and pics on Twitter throughout the day and as night fell, the great photos continued.

As dawn broke in Alabama, more outstanding pics began to be posted and the positive attitudes continued. Our amazing cafeteria staff pulled off an amazing breakfast! Although the situation was not idea, I could tell that the moral of the staff was positive and students felt the love!

Around 2:30 on Wednesday my husband, who had been stranded in downtown Birmingham, finally made it home and my kind neighbor, a Jefferson county sheriff, took be back to my stranded car. At this time, I made my way back to Hoover High School to try to provide some relief to those admins and teachers who had stayed the night. As I approached Stadium Trace, this is what I saw.

By the time I finally made it back, only about 40 students of the 500 who were a part of the Hoover Lock-In 2014 remained. They were tired and ready to get home. The lock-in was quickly turning into a "break-out". With the help of Hoover Police, Coach Eads, Coach Jason Barton, and other Hoover transportation employees we were able to transport the last students to their homes before dark, some via the school Gators and Mules. What a blessing! I made my way back home as did all of the other administrators.

I cannot express the love I have for the faculty and staff at Hoover High School and my administrative team. This group sacrificed time with their own families and allowed me to go and get my boys and get them home safely. As I have expressed my gratitude to my team, they have all told me that things were fine and that helping each other out is what makes our team special. The administrators and teachers at Hoover are absolutely amazing and I am blessed to work with them each day. The positive emails from the staff, central office, our superintendent, parents, and community members have been awesome and I hope our staff realizes what they mean to the students a HHS!

Here is a blog post by our amazing English teacher Ms. Lesa Gibson from a teacher's perspective:

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