California students helping Pearlington rebuild

By Al Showers – bio | email

PEARLINGTON, MS (WLOX) - The Katrina Devastated Pearlington Community took another major step forward in its recovery efforts thanks to students from Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto, California.

The eleventh grade students will spend a week in the Hancock County community helping bring something back to Pearlington that young people in the area have been without since the storm.

It's a lot of moving, demolition and break-down work, but the 26 students from California say they're enjoying every minute of it.

"You're helping people, so that's definitely a really good feeling," said eleventh grade student Raz Serero.

The students from the private Jewish High School are helping to convert a building back into its original use that has housed the Pearlington Recovery Center since the storm. It's a gymnasium.

After this work is done. The building will be renovated and used as a recreation center for the youth of the community.

Student Kayla Sculnick said, "Being able to help children have a place to play and have a place to go and be safe that just makes me feel so special."

Her classmate, India Spears agreed.

"I'm giving them something they need back," Spears said. "They had so much taken away from them."

School leaders say although it's not exactly class work, lessons are being learned here.

"We very much feel it's part of our obligation to repair the world, so community service is a very important piece of what we do," said instructor Alison Ruebusch.

And the students say they will take the lessons they learn here to future projects to help others.

"We came down here to do work and help people, but I think something that gets over looked a lot is that we really came down here also to learn for ourselves how we can make the best difference," said student Benjamin Lehmann.

"It's everything I had hoped it would be and more," explained student Kayla Sculnick. "I love being here and helping people."

This is the third trip the students have made to the coast. They helped tear down storm damaged homes the first time and rebuild homes the next visit.

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