School holds sleepover for stranded students
Miami-Yoder school opened its doors to stranded students overnight after road conditions made it impossible for school buses and parents to get students home.
Around 70 students spent the night at school. The school's assistant principal and athletics director, Howard Disney, said teachers had to get "creative" to ensure the students were as comfortable as possible. Teachers pulled out football jerseys for students to wear and cold weather football jackets to use as blankets.
Elementary school students slept in the preschool. Middle school and high school girls slept in a classroom. Middle school and high school boys slept on wrestling mats in the cafeteria.
"We were hoping to get them out in time before the full brunt of the storm had hit, unfortunately, it was a fast moving storm. We did not predict its intensity to be what it was," said Disney.
Yoder resident Audrey Hacker picked up her grandsons and niece early Wednesday morning. Hacker described Tuesday evening's white-out conditions as treacherous and scary.
"Where I live right on Highway 94, I knew it was going to be a lost cause because we couldn't even see Highway 94 from the front door," said Hacker.
She said at times she couldn't see past the hood of her car on the road.
The school district's transportation director said this is the first time driving conditions have made students spend the night at school.
"Our northern bus routes didn't get too far and it was white-out conditions, so they did the right thing and brought those kids back," said Disney.
Miami-Yoder eighth-grader Charlene Madden was on one of the buses that turned back.
"You really couldn't see anything, it was really scary. And we almost hit a bus actually because we couldn't see it until we got really close up to it," said Madden. "When we turned back we were actually kind of grateful because it was really scary driving home."
Madden's dad tried to pick her up from school but got stranded in a parking lot on Highway 94. He said he's used to these conditions and always makes it to school to pick up Madden. He was relieved to know his daughter was safe and off the roads.
"We were thankful that the school was there and fed them and gave them somewhere safe. We knew they weren't going to go anywhere and we knew where they could be first thing in the morning," said Corey Madden.
Hacker said her grandsons and niece enjoyed their night at school.
"One of them is still waking up, he slept in this morning. The other two were like, 'we had a big slumber party. It was fun, can we go home now?'" said Hacker.
Disney said the students were well-behaved. He said the school was well-prepared so children slept comfortably and were well-fed.
Madden said she was dreading spending the night in school. However, she said it turned out to be fun.
"We slept for about an hour but the rest of the time it was like a slumber party," said Madden. "It was way more fun than any of us expected it to be."
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