Gulfport Students Experience Hurricane Camille

The fourth and fifth graders from West Elementary in Gulfport are having a ball. They're surfing back to 1969, to feel what it was like to live through one of the most vicious hurricanes to pound the Gulf Coast.

Kathryn Lewis is with the Mississippi Arts Commission. She said "It's active learning, active participation. It's using all the multiple intelligences, so children don't just see something or they don't just hear it, they actually do it".

Lewis begins with the story of Camille's birth. She said "On August 14, the storm is given a name. Her name is Camille. 143 people are killed, 36,000 homes destroyed, but Camille isn't through".

By hearing stories, listening to music, and using their imagination, the students try to envision how Camille came to be and follow her path of destruction through Mississippi.

Fourth Grader John Kendrick said "I'm learning more about Hurricane Camille and how it happened, and how all the things mixed up together to make one big storm. You get to learn stuff and do it while you're playing".

Fifth Grader Shelbi Lewis said "By feeling it and seeing the maps and the shows and listening to the stories, they help me feel, because I never seen a hurricane like that".

By imitating Camille's fierce winds and water, the youngsters now understand her wrath and how she changed the face of the Coast.

Teachers at West Elementary also went through the same program, so they can learn how to incorporate the lessons into their classrooms. National Geographic, the Mississippi Arts Commission, and the Walter Anderson Museum sponsored the presentation.