Picture this: You’re a college student at one of the many prestigious Universities on the Louisiana and Alabama coast line. You live the lifestyle of a college student.
Then in the blink of an eye, hurricane Katrina, the worst storm in history, hits the United States and destroys your city and life.
Even with the delayed response of President Bush and FEMA, there was an overwhelming response from Americans and the world to offer a helping hand.
The Red Cross and the United Way were on the scene immediately. Actors and athletes donated millions of dollars to help the relief effort
With all the coverage of hurricane Katrina, little attention was given to the college students affected by the tragedy.
There are over 20 colleges and universities in New Orleans. The majority of the institutions were underwater for a quarter of the fall semester. What were the college students affected by hurricane Katrina doing?
Many students in the area thought the tragedy was an opportunity to take the semester off.
Despite the hardships, some students refused to put their goals and dreams on hold, and decided to seek higher education at other institutions.
Students affected by hurricane Katrina ventured to states such as Texas, Alabama and Florida. Many students took refuge at Florida A&M University.
The students who traveled to FAMU from their homes didn’t know what to expect once they arrived.
Many of the displaced students carried faith and the feeling of simplicity in their hearts. Although humbling, these characteristics proved to be their ticket of admission to schools throughout the nation.
In the spirit of FAMU’s motto, “Excellence with Caring,” the University extended a much needed helping hand to the displaced students.
Not only did FAMU accept victims of hurricane Katrina, it allowed them to enroll and granted them temporary in-state status for the fall semester.
In-state status and being able to enroll in classes at FAMU is a privilege that many students take for granted, but it was a blessing for the students forced to transfer to FAMU due to hurricane Katrina.
Enrolling students at FAMU and other colleges allowed the displaced students to continue their dreams. The opportunity also offered students relief from their financial hardships.
People should admire each victim for their resiliency and tenacity. Each displaced student has withstood immaculate adversities and transformed into a FAMU Rattler.
Seems like a dream come true? Even though the displaced students have new homes, another nightmare is potentially upon them.
There is no definitive statement from FAMU’s administration defining if these students will be classified as in-state or out-of-state students. The sudden change from in-state to out-of-state status could be as much a setback as the tragedy of hurricane Katrina.
I encourage everyone who reads this article to put yourself in the shoes of these victims. I challenge everyone to get involved and allow the displaced students of hurricane Katrina to continue their education and not let their future’s belong to the disparities of their situation.
Jarryd Alex Jackson is a fifth year pharmacy student from Bradenton, Fla. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org