The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

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The Hawkeye February 2024 issue
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An inventory checkoff of school sheds

Teachers, administrators seek to keep building properly supplied in the event of a natural disaster
©HAWKEYE image credit: Jonathan Kwong
On a sunny day, the two sheds sit behind the school in between the greenhouse and the softball field.

Right outside of the softball field here at MTHS, there are two sheds that hold emergency supplies. These supplies are supposed to be used to not only sustain students and staff in the case of natural disasters, but also to shelter students and staff from the harsh weather if people were ever forced out of the main building for any reason.

However, exactly how prepared is the school to handle these so called disasters? Well according to assistant principal Peter Schurke, not very prepared at all.

“We’re equipped so far to handle a small scale disaster,” Schurke admits. “We have some first aid equipment, some blankets, we have some capability to handle some injured people.”

Even though the sheds have been around for over seven years, until now there just hasn’t been the spare money to get any more supplies than the minimum amount that the school district provides to high schools. The minimum is same amount they provide for elementary and middle schools who have a much lower student body count than a full fledged high school.

While the school is built to stay standing in the face of a significantly sized earthquake, one can never be too careful. What if the building collapses, and the school is forced to evacuate. What if the collapse causes injuries? Can the injured students and staff be adequately helped? At current supply levels, there just wouldn’t be a sufficient amount of supplies to help everybody. This leads to the questions of why no money been put aside or saved up to restock the sheds with more or new supplies.

Well it’s because all of the school’s budget has been funneled toward hiring enough teachers and having enough support equipment and personnel around to keep our school running smoothly and efficiently, leaving no money to fund the restocking of the sheds. It hasn’t been until very recently that awareness was brought to the sheds and the supplies within them.

Since we don’t have sufficient funds to do quite as much restocking and preparing, the staff have put in other efforts to make sure the students are safe. For example, there are plans for if there were to be a collapse or if students were to get trapped inside the school building. There are teachers who are either willing to learn or all ready trained in how to save students from a collapsed building, how to navigate safely in a collapses building and other safety procedures.

Even if the school hadall the money it needed to restock the sheds, organization is still a big hurdle. Schurke does do periodic checks, but it’s been a long time since someone went through and did a deep clean and organization of the sheds.

No one is completely sure of the numbers. What supplies are in stock? How much of it does the school have? How much of the current supplies are expired?

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Due to these questions and out of concern for the safety of the students here at MTHS, drama teacher Jean Brzovic decided to call attention to this at the February PTSA meeting.

Brzovic said she has always been the type of person to notice and worry about these kind of things, so she decided to take on the task. Schurke says it’s also something she’s doing as part of her administrative internship here at MTHS, so this project is also something she has taken on as part of her internship.

How can we take a fresh look with a fresh set of eyes at our security plans and our disaster preparedness? Brzovic has decided to go through the sheds and not only take inventory, but clean out what’s expired or unusable as well. This is a considerable job for only one person to do. For anyone who is willing to help with this task, they can come to Brzovic’s room, 201, and talk to her.

If students were willing to put forth the effort, the sheds could be organized and cleaned in no time. For those who would like to help, but just don’t have the time, they can also donate needed supplies, such as tarps, canopies or blankets. It would not be a desirable situation for students to be stuck outside without enough supplies to shelter themselves from the elements, or not enough bandages and bactine to help out those who are injured.

There have also been other changes thanks to Brzovic’s efforts. Thanks to fines and fees office manager Sandra Merten, MTHS has received $2,000 to replenish the supplies in the sheds. She put in a special request after hearing about and talking about the situation with Brzovic at the PTSA meeting.

The money was reallocated from the schools building budget, since there was some carry-over money from last year as Merten said.

“I made the request as I felt we needed to improve/update out emergency sheds,” Merten said.

All these steps are being taken to improve survival chances in the event of a natural disaster, but there’s always more that can be done. Donating an old, but intact, tarp or blanket doesn’t require much effort, and helping out a few times after school doesn’t cost anything, so students are encouraged to help with the efforts to replenish the shed.

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About the Contributor
Jonathan Kwong, Yearbook Editor and General Manager
Jonathan Kwong is a senior at MTHS.  He is the Executive Editor of Tempo yearbook and the General Manger for Hawkeye newspaper. His objective is to communicate with MTHS community and be more familiarized with the students, the school and the community.  As the Tempo Editor, Kwong oversees the production of the yearbook and its supplements.  One of the supplements includes a special 60th anniversary book, outlining the history of MTHS since its establishment in the fall of 1960.  Among other titles, Kwong is also the General Manager for Hawkeye and oversees all the business department of Hawkeye while also organizing events and tracking financials.
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