The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Students, faculty on SE share storm experiences

By Karen Gavis/se news editor

Sirens wailed at SE Campus, just a few miles from the tornado that touched down near Interstate 20 in southwest Arlington, and students were ordered to safer locations.

After huddling in hallways, inner classrooms and closets, they emerged unscathed.

“I think we weathered the storm very well,” SE police Cpl. Ivory Ramsey said. “We followed normal protocol, and everyone seemed to follow what they were supposed to be doing.”

SE President William Coppola visited classrooms and said everything went well with no reports of damage.

“The students were very cooperative,” he said. “They were wonderful.”

About 1:20 p.m., a tornado siren sounded, and some SE students received texts of a tornado on the ground. Immediately, dual credit/career/campus services director Michael Cinatl’s voice came on the speaker system instructing students to move away from windows to safer locations in the building.

The electronic marquee signs began to flash: “Severe weather — Be alert.”

As Spanish associate professor Luz Escobar taught her Spanish I class, students began pouring in seeking shelter. Some gathered news from laptops, and a local television weather map was projected onto a pull-down screen. Students experienced cell-phone service interruption.

The sky was dark as several students ran to their cars. Shortly thereafter, students were not allowed to exit buildings.

SE student Arthur Foley said he had never seen so many police officers on campus.

“It is completely amazing how much they care about our safety,” he said. “I would’ve died. I would’ve ran out. They had police officers at every door.”

Foley said he was concerned about the safety of his pet and hoped a tornado did not hit his house.

“I’ve got my Xbox 360 in there,” he said.

SE faculty and staff members walked hallways maintaining student safety. Some donned orange emergency vests, one carried a bullhorn and others communicated with walkie-talkies.

The newer ESCT building has numerous windows, and some students there sought shelter inside closets. Although told not leave, some students trickled into the main building.

“My mind is like nuts right now,” SE student Kristen Fisher said. “It’s pretty crazy, hectic.”

Fisher had been studying in a hallway when students were alerted.

“I’m going to hang out and be as safe as I can,” she said.

Students were later instructed to enter open classrooms and move from the hallway.

“I was just about to take my exam and then the announcement came on,” SE student Noe Ponce said. ”We just really lucked out.”

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