College students caught in Hurricane Sandy on art trip
A group of art and photography students from Exmouth Community College got more than they bargained for on a trip to New York, when they found themselves caught up in Hurricane Sandy.
The A-level students, along with teachers Jill Honour and Victoria Carter, had flown out to visit four of the Big Apple’s famous art museums – the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, and the International Centre of Photography – and enjoy some regular sightseeing.
However, with their scheduled five days completed, the group found their flight home on the Sunday evening had been cancelled – leaving them in their Manhattan hotel when the storm hit on Monday.
Mrs Honour said: “We’d thought we’d be safe as we’d be out, but British Airways cancelled all their flights. We lived through Sunday and Monday [when the storm moved in], and Monday teatime the power went off.
“We’d sent the students out on Sunday to get food, but we didn’t know how long we’d be holed up for, and everything was closing down, so it started to get a bit more serious.”
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Mrs Honour said the storm itself was not too severe for the group, as they were out of the way of the surge which hit parts of Manhattan.
“We were in the middle of town, which was okay – it was lower Manhattan that had to be evacuated, so we were safe, but a mile down the road it was very different. To be honest it was just a bit wet and a bit windy, but it was very dark.”
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The group stayed in their hotel until Tuesday lunchtime, when their tour operator Travelbound moved them to a hotel in Boston, before finally flying back last Thursday.
Mrs Honour praised the students for how they coped, saying: “We couldn’t have taken a nicer bunch of students – they were totally amazing and I was very proud of them.”
College principal Tony Alexander said he had been very concerned for the group, and had kept parents informed during the week, while Mrs Honour’s husband had co-ordinated with him and Travelbound.
Mr Alexander said: “I would like to thank Mrs Carter and Mrs Honour for their outstanding leadership during a difficult time. Their example was an inspiration to the students, whose behaviour and attitude were a great credit to them. I am very proud of all of them.”