*This story was originally published in the first quarter issue of the Eagle Eye*
In recent months, catastrophic whirlwinds have targeted the East Coast and islands in the Caribbean sea. Storms such as Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria have caused some areas to become virtually uninhabitable.
Among those displaced by the string of storms this hurricane season is Jevon Gittens, a junior from the U.S. Virgin Islands. The islands were hit hard by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, both devastating the area within a span of three weeks. As a U.S. territory, the islands have been receiving aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Vice President Mike Pence paid a visit to the area in early October.
Gittens came to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the second week of October, jumping straight into a school year in full swing. He was forced to move to Florida after Hurricane Irma flooded his home in St. Croix, an island southeast of Puerto Rico.
“[The state of the islands] was really sad to see; everything was demolished,” said Gittens. “Neighbors, we never used to talk to each other much, and we started to stay outside late to talk to each other.”
Although the Virgin Islands are part of the United States, their distance from the mainland has resulted in a significant difference in culture.
“Everything–just everything is different,” said Gittens. “[MSD] is way bigger, and the students are a lot nicer than at my old school.”
Due to his recent enrollment, Gittens has not had a chance to explore all the clubs and activities MSD has to offer. He is taking classes similar to those of many juniors, like U.S. History and Creative Writing.
Gittens likes the area of Parkland and Coral Springs, especially the malls. While Gittens and his family have not yet found a permanent place to stay, they are staying with family in the area. In the future, Jevon aspires to be a mechanical engineer.