Hinkley students leave for Houston to help rebuild homes

The hurricane relief efforts started in the unlikeliest of classes with the unlikeliest of students.

AURORA - When you break it down into its simplest form, math class is see problem, solve problem. But, Senior Will Oliver and his teacher Betty Lee want to extend that beyond the classroom.

"People just altogether, just devastated by the effects of the hurricane," Oliver said.

When Hurricane Harvey tore through Texas, the images of flooded neighborhoods and destroyed lives prompted Oliver and 30 other students from Lee's math classes to solve the problem they see.

"A lot of people brought it back to the people and that's where our drive started to come and our motives," Oliver said.

Hinkley High School is a place where most students live in low-income families. Though they don't have much to give, Senior Simone Smith says they can give hard work.

"I think it's really nice that as a community, Aurora can go back and give to people even though we don't have all the resources," Smith said. "They are still willing to give back as much as they possibly can."

Students like Casey Sharpe will leave Sunday by bus to work on rebuilding homes damaged by the hurricane.

"We don't have the money, but we have the heart," Sharpe said. "I like to use my hands. I like to work on things. So, yeah, I think I'll be good down there."

They will work all week in Dickinson, Texas located near Houston.

"Dickinson was one of the hardest hit areas," Lee said. "90 percent of it was flooded. 50 percent of it was totaled."

Students solicited donations of tools and supplies from local businesses. Lee says when they asked a window company, Renewal by Andersen, for help they were surprised.

"When we went to them to ask for funds, they came forward and donated $14,000 which was the cost of our bus," Lee said.

This idea has now turned into their first-ever senior service project called the Heart of Hinkley. Smith hopes this turns into a yearly tradition at Hinkley to give back.

"I just think as long as I go out there and give it my best shot that I can help as much as I possibly can," Smith said.

For Oliver, this trip is more personal. In 2013, heavy rainfall flooded his home causing extensive damage.

"It was a really hard hit to my family and I and that's my personal connection to why I want to go down to Houston and why I want to help the families there in similar situations," Oliver said.

It's a problem for the students to see and solve.

"We may not be the wealthiest, but we do have a great sense of community in this town," Oliver said.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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