WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 03, 2013, 06:04 PM

Students making big impact in community through sandbagging

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The flood fight in Fargo officially began at 8 this morning when Sandbag Central opened its doors.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The flood fight in Fargo officially began at 8 this morning when Sandbag Central opened its doors.

300 Discovery middle school students were the first volunteers. It takes that many people, per hour, to keep operations running smoothly.

And with the goal of one million sandbags, could the community do it without the volunteer efforts of the schools and its students?

This place isn't nearly as full as it was this morning. All three spider machines were up running filling bags and now just…

Dennis Walaker, Fargo Mayor: “I think what's amazing about this whole process is the kids.”

Bag after bag, student after student, hundreds of hands filling, tieing, and loading thousands of sandbags.

Emily Skaare, 8th Grade: “It feels good, I feel like we actually have a chance against this flood.”

Brady Anderson, 8th Grade: “It feels like I'm helping the community for once. I've never done this before, and it feels good to do this.”

Emily Skaare and Brady Anderson are hard at work doing their part to lend a much needed hand. They say it's fun, rewarding, and exciting, but the best part about it might be getting out of class.

Anderson: “Math.”

Emily: “No algebra, so that's ok.”

It's not only about the dramatic impact these 8th graders make, it's also about the life lessons learned.

Anderson: “Learning how to help the community and being a good person.”

Jeremy Nesvold, American History Teacher: “One of the goals of Fargo schools is community service.”

Students filling bags are 13 and 14 years old, but American History teacher Jeremy Nesvold says they know the impact a flood can have. Most of them have helped save their own homes from high waters.

Nesvold: “In previous flood fights, kids have been credited with helping save the city, and this is their opportunity to do that.”

Just how big of an impact do these students make? Each of the three middle schools will provide around 300 students, two different days. If you add that up that's a total of about 1,600 volunteers that would be needed if the students were nonexistent.

Nesvold: “The high school kids are going to go out and throw the bags, so without the kids, this isn't going to happen.”

Being the fourth major flood in five years volunteer numbers have dwindled, but one thing is certain. These students will be here year after year making sure sandbags will be on the trucks ready to help fight a flood.

Walaker: “If there's anything good about fighting floods, it's the youth.”

The students made 15,000 sandbags in just one hour. In all the hours they worked, they made a total of 80,000 sandbags.