Evacuated Kids Enroll in Texoma

9-8-05 – 60,000 students evacuated from the hurricane-ravaged areas are expected to enroll in Texas schools. Local school districts are ready to take them on, they say, if only parents would sign up their children.

After days on the road, families who evacuated to our area are beginning to settle in and look for a place to put their kids back in school. The Sherman Independent School District received five new students in the past week.

Two of those are the children of Heidi Cervi, a New Orleans native who fled the city with her family to stay with friends in Sherman. Cervi enrolled her 11-year old son and 12-year-old daughter in SISD yesterday. She feels the reality of losing everything has yet to set in for her children.

“I think it will help if they can make a few friends, and talk about something else, like boys or books or music or something besides the storm,” says Cervi.

School districts like Sherman are waiting with open doors.

“There are funds that have been set aside for those students who may not have homes to reside in. We're using those funds to meet their needs,” says Dr. Al Hambrick, Superintendent of the Sherman ISD.

Adjustments like temporarily waiving medical record requirements have been made. Sherman schools will also provide transportation and school meals to the uprooted students. Administrators say the resources are there, and more homeless parents need to take advantage of them, whether enrolling their child permanently or temporarily.

“At a time in their lives like this, I think school is a good place to be,” says Dr. Hambrick.

Sherman has no idea how many evacuated students they'll take in, especially because local shelters are still expecting more to arrive, but they say where ever the numbers fall, the district can bear the burden.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army Disaster-Relied Center in Sherman on Loy Lake Road will let evacuees know which school district to contact, depending where they are currently staying.