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‘I live here too’ : High schoolers help Rosewood community escape rising waters

High school students mobilize to help save neighborhood

Students from Socastee High School came out in force Wednesday to help members of the Rosewood neighborhood with sandbags and moving their belongings.
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Students from Socastee High School came out in force Wednesday to help members of the Rosewood neighborhood with sandbags and moving their belongings.

Students from Socastee High School went room to room in Billie Sherengos’ home packing everything they could and moving furniture out of reach of the coming flood from the Intracoastal Waterway just across from her home.

When Hurricane Matthew flooded the Rosewood neighborhood behind Socastee High in 2016, Sherengos said she was unprepared. This time, she said, she was a little more prepared.

“You have no idea how difficult it is to pull things you love and throw them away the first time. And after it’s over, you say, ‘OK I needed to de-lutter anyway,’” Sherengos said. But she still hasn’t finished fixing her home from Matthew.

Dozens of high school students, including the cheerleading and varsity football teams, walked down Rosewood Drive into the neighborhood to help people pack and fill sandbags. “It makes me cry, cry out of happiness and sadness for all of us. All of the people on this street,” Sherengos said.

She said she had about 20 inches of water in her living room after Hurricane Matthew.

Socastee High teacher Jason Williams was filling sandbags at the boat landing at the end of Rosewood Drive on Wednesday morning with some other teachers and half a dozen students.

“A lot of our students and faculty were out of their houses for a while, so it’s good to try and save what we can,” in the Rosewood neighborhood, Williams said, so they organized the effort to help the school’s neighbors.

He said they have been driving around to stores and buying all their sandbags to fill and help protect the houses in this neighborhood along the Intracoastal that is expected to see the water go up as much as 10 more feet, according to the National Weather Service, worse than what the area saw after Matthew.

Wednesday morning the boat landing in Rosewood already was flooded with 14 feet of water, according to the Weather Service. The Weather Service forecasts the Intracoastal will crest at 23 or 24 feet by Sept. 28.

“We are just trying to help the Rosewood community since it is just behind our school,” student Joy Renfrow said. “They do a lot for our school and athletics and stuff, so it’s good to kind of give back and just help them out when they’re in need.”

Socastee senior McKenna Martinal walked up to Sherengos’ house to help as some of his classmates were packing things to load into a truck. He said he got a text message Wednesday morning. “I’m glad I got out of bed,” he said he got himself up, thinking, “I should definitely get up and help these people because, you know, I live here too.”

“They are absolutely amazing,” Sherengos said of the students. And this time around, she added, she has flood insurance.

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