Student Evacuees Adjusting Well to Region 8

December 6, 2005 – Posted at 3:52 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on August 29th, and during the last three and a half months, Region 8 has reached out to those in need.

"Many of them probably had a lot of things on their mind, besides school when they got here," said Nettleton High School Counselor Debbie Findley, "So we tried to work with them to make it through that difficult period in their lives and move toward the future."

About 60,000 students were displaced...ten ended up at NHS. All have returned home but senior De'Ante Shelling...his family is staying in Jonesboro.

"I was really worried, because I have a lot of memories and feelings and stuff that was lost behind," said Shelling.

It's been a big transition from his old school at West Jefferson High in Harvey, Louisiana.  Everything he had was lost in the storm.

"There was like mold everywhere. Everything had to be gutted out, like stuff was, birth certificates, everything was like totally destroyed," said Shelling.

Shelling says he misses participating in the ROTC, but does enjoy playing football and basketball for the Raiders.

"It was really exciting for me to be down here, getting warm love from people I didn't even know," said Shelling, "It all works out for the good, as long as I get a diploma from a high school its ok."

Shelling says he plans to stay in Jonesboro after he graduates in May. He hopes to attend Arkansas State University , and major in computer sciences.

Young hurricane refugees who are in school in Arkansas and other states can pursue Louisiana high school diplomas. Officials in Louisiana have agreed to accept credits from Arkansas schools and others if the students meet graduation requirements.