Drawings help Fayetteville children cope after flooding

Thursday, October 20, 2016
Children's drawing help them cope with hurricane's aftermath
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Children's drawing help them cope with hurricane's aftermath.

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- On the first few days back at Walker-Spivey Elementary School in Fayetteville, teachers and pupils put math and science aside to talk about the devastation wrought by Hurricane Matthew.

The floodwaters inundated the neighborhood around Walker-Spivey school, where many of the pupils live.

"It was really scary because I don't like water," said fourth-grader Ahviyana Jenrette.

In class, the children are drawing about the scariest night of their young lives.

"It shows us walking through the water getting higher and higher as we walked thru the water," Ahviyana said of her drawing. "And it came above us, and we were all saying help while we walked."

Jamel McNeill, a fifth-grader, said: "The water getting into the house. I thought it was going to go to the roof. I was afraid I was going to drown."

Each drawing tells a different story of families surviving Hurricane Matthew's winds and floods.

"The tree almost hit my Mom and Dad's room," Jamel said, "and it almost landed on him, so that's what got me scared."

Many lost all they had.

"I was scared if the water comes up all the way, I can't hold my breath all the way, and I can't swim that good," said second-grader Sariyah Handberry.

When students went back to class, teachers greeted all 300-plus students with open arms and hearts.

"We had a chance to let them know it's going to be OK, to talk about it," said Erica Fenner-McAdoo, principal at Walker-Spivey Elementary School. "This is a natural thing that happens. It might happen again in your lifetime, but it's going to be OK, so we are here to support you and you are going to get through it."

And they are survivors. Their drawings part of memories they'll never forget.

"Be brave when the next one comes," Sariyah said. "And maybe you should leave town for a couple of days."

Thursday night, the school planned to cook a spaghetti dinner for the pupils' families and then hand out some donated food and clothing.

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