Sun shines after the storm

Sun shines after the storm

24 August 2021

Sun shines after the storm

Kalbarri District High School students have built a Thank You Board out of cyclone debris in gratitude to the local community who helped during the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Seroja.

The Thank You Board was developed by a group of Years 7-9 students as a project during the school’s weekly enterprise class, where groups of students work together to create something of benefit to the local community.

Kalbarri District High School principal Michael Ostaszewskyj and students stand in front of the Thank You Board. 

The gesture was an opportunity for the students and wider school community to express their resilience and strong spirit following the trail of destruction that was left by the cyclone back in April. In the days and months that followed, many individuals and organisations helped the school get back on its feet.

Kalbarri District High School principal Michael Ostaszewskyj said the timber frame and screws holding the board together came from a wayward roof that happened to land in a teacher’s back yard.

“The Thank You Board is an illustration of the fact that while Tropical Cyclone Seroja delivered a great deal of devastation and heartache, it also highlighted the fantastic spirit of our community and the willingness of our fellow Australians to help out in times of need,” he said.

“It’s also a small symbol that shows we can re-build something positive from the wreckage.

“In the wake of Tropical Cyclone Seroja, our community received an overwhelming amount of support from many people and organisations who helped us get back on our feet.

“At the time, many of us were dealing with our own immediate concerns, so it wasn’t always possible to personally thank all those who deserved it.”

Year 4 student Jesse thanked his dog Comet for keeping him calm during Cyclone Seroja.

Year 4 student Jesse’s Thank You note was one of many on the board thanking those who helped get them through the worrying time.

Jesse thanked his dog Comet for keeping him calm during Cyclone Seroja.

“I’d like to thank my dog for keeping me company when I was in the laundry with a pillow ready to use it as a shield. My dog was mortified but he still kept me calm and made me feel safe,” he wrote.

Mr Ostaszewskyj said the Thank You Board provided an opportunity to share the experiences of students and staff and begin the healing process after some traumatic times.

“There are many deserving people whose names do not appear on the board. If our community wrote a thank you message for every person who helped us after Seroja, they would fill a thousand Thank You Boards,” he said.