Teenage ‘Zombies’, Red Cross Team Up for Disaster Readiness

 St. Johns Technical High School Students Dress to Bring Project to Life

 BY JAKE MARTIN

St. Augustine Record

The Times-Union, October 24, 2014

      Students at St. Johns Technical High School used the zombie apocalypse scenario as a way to inform their community about disaster preparedness. Although a zombie apocalypse is an unlikely turn of events, that didn’t keep students from seizing the chance to dress up for a cause.

      “The zombie element sealed the deal for them,” said Linda Krepp, Career Specialist at SJTHS and coordinator for the event. “It made learning fun.”

     The school teamed with the American Red Cross to do a project-based learning experience, which evolved into the Disaster Preparedness and Zombie Apocalypse Fair.

      About 20 sponsors for the event also provided displays with information about what they do in certain disasters and how local residents can best prepare.  Officials from the Red Cross, Anastasia Mosquito Control District, St. Johns County Emergency Operations Center and many other organizations came out for the event.

      “It’s an effort to inform the community and bring awareness to what to do in the event of a disaster,” Principal Cynthia Williams said.

      Krepp said the event was student-driven and student-organized.  Mainly through the school’s Academy of Coastal and Water Resources, students researched the different resources and tactics local organizations use in disaster scenarios.  They worked on their projects after school over the course of six weeks.

      Students were split into two groups. Each group created a city and safety plan that they presented Thursday night, including a fake newscast detailing the imaginary horrors.  After the presentations, the audience had to choose where they felt they would be safest in the event of a disaster.

     Students then returned to their roles as zombies and performed the dance from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”  For the occasion, Williams dressed like Jackson from the popular music video and joined the students on the stage.

       “This is a great thing to have,” said David Hotchkiss, a volunteer with the Red Cross. “ … Hurricane season’s not over, and you need to be thinking safety.”