The Summit Christian Academy (SCA) senior class recently returned from Moore, OK where they helped with tornado relief efforts as part of the senior mission trip. The students spent nine days in Moore where they helped clear debris and rebuild homes.
"We take so much for granted," commented senior Taylor Shippy. "You could lose everything, just like that. Being in Moore was really eye opening for me. I can understand the confusion, the sadness, and the grief that the residents must have felt."
Senior Olivia Blumer noted similarities in the devastation she saw in Moore with the damage witnessed in Joplin, MO a few years ago.
"It looked like a normal city," shared Blumer. "But then we got to where the tornado hit; the city was completely devastated. I didn’t know that it was that bad."
SCA senior Joseph Lambert echoed her sentiment. "I saw amateur pictures and video footage on television when it happened in May, but it was completely different in person."
The students engaged in five days of intense debris removal. They organized into small groups and did everything from helping to build sheds where residents could store their recovered belongings, to demolishing tornado-wrecked mobile homes.
"We accomplished a lot as a team, " said Lambert. "It was good to bond as a senior class. We came away feeling like we could make a difference and help restore hope for the people of Moore."
This year marks the 10th year that SCA seniors have taken a mission trip. The seniors select a destination and area to serve.
"Our school has engaged in service projects for years. We love to help out in the community," said secondary principal Emir A. Ruiz Esparza. In previous years, the seniors served in Mexico, Canada, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana and Wisconsin.
The most memorable project for the students during the Moore mission trip is fondly referred to as ‘the field.’ A symbol of what could be accomplished with teamwork, ‘the field’ was a 200x300-yard over grown property, laden with broken glass, rusty nails, wooden planks, and other debris.
"The field really challenged the group," said Esparza. "But everything that was put in front of (the student and faculty team) got done. It was like trying to climb Mt. Everest. With each step, we moved further and were closer to where we needed to be. The lady who owned the field was going to get a citation by the City of Moore if she did not get it cleaned and mowed."
"It was our version of a Navy Seals team. Maybe there was some skepticism because it was a group of teenagers. But our students proved themselves in their effort—their diligence and hard work," said Esparza. "In the end, we saw relief in the eyes of those we helped."