hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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March 28, 2013

A different kind of spring break

Local students help in area ravaged by hurricane

It was far from a typical spring break.

While thousands of college students headed for warm climates to soak up sun and fun during their week off from classes, seven local students had other plans.

They raked up debris and cleaned out a deteriorated building to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The Northern Essex Community College students and their faculty adviser spent part of their spring break in a suburb of New York City, helping restore an area destroyed by the hurricane.

Making the trip for the three-day volunteer effort were students Robert Ewusi and Nairoby Sanchez of Haverhill, Galvir Romero of Lawrence, Jillian Horyn of North Andover, Michele Simon of Epping, N.H., Kelsey Terry of Amesbury and Nathan Ko of Andover. NECC Professor Andrew Morse accompanied them.

To afford the trip, the students raised money through a bake sale that brought in more than $300. They also accepted donations. NECC provided a van for the drive to New York, with gasoline paid for with donations from the college’s political science department.

The project came together after the students’ successful efforts late last year to aid pets of the hurricane’s victims, said Simon, who was the student organizer. A group from the college’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society raised money to help recover and care for pets abandoned or lost during the storm.

But that wasn’t enough to satisfy the students.

“We wanted to help more,” Simon said.

She and several other students approached Morse with their idea to go to New York. He is a history and government professor and also faculty adviser of the NECC Amnesty Intentional and the NECC Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

“The students came to me with the plan,’’ Morse said. “Some wanted to use the experience as their school project for the semester.’’

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