High School Students Helping Those Responding to Ian With Key Information

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People in our state are helping in the race to save lives in Florida and what’s pretty incredible is they are students in high school.

With a lot of high-tech resources and a lot of drive, students from Vinal Tech in Middletown monitor the destruction Hurricane Ian is unleashing on Florida.

“I’m in information, so we look at maps,” sophomore Ben Fletcher tells us.

“For my role, I am one of the section chiefs for interoperations,” junior Eliz Rodriguez explained.

By monitoring internet sources, social media, and other channels, they can provide federal disaster responders with crucial information about what’s happening on the ground.

“What really stuck me is how devastating the hurricane impacted,” stated Fletcher.

“It’s up to the minute. It’s incredible, incredible work,” David Cruickshank, a teacher at Vinal Technical High School, says.

David Cruickshank expects, for the next two weeks, this real-world response will be the job of students from the Criminal Justice and Protective Services program.

While the center was originally set up as a training spot a few years ago, the students fast-paced work impressed everyone so it’s no longer practice.

“It’s pretty amazing what they are doing and the fact that they are able to do it and prove it to everybody. We hope this spreads and we get more high schools doing this,” continued Cruickshank.

Even from their classroom in Connecticut, they understand the seriousness of the disaster they are watching unfold.

“Just to have this little opportunity in the shop to help the people who are struggling really means a lot,” added Rodriguez.

The program helps prepare students for careers, including in police, fire and emergency management, and some say this experience has really inspired them for work after high school.

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