BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES. Charlie Garcia puts sandbags in his truck. He evacuated from the Florida Keys. He says he is going to stay in Miami because there is nowhere else to go. Preparations are underway for Hurricane Irma, as it makes its way towards Florida. photo/Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS

When Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Houston, Floridians immediately took action. The storm, which killed at least 70 people and caused 6.5 million people to evacuate, left victims attempting to piece their lives back together. Many lost their personal mementos and family pets, but their homes, as well.

Orange County Public Schools and the Foundation partnered with A Gift For Teaching to donate school supplies to Houston students in need. National Honor Society took part in the initiative.

“NHS is all about service and helping the community. When we see others in need, we like to step up when we can and help,” club sponsor Kelly Mahler said.

Because Floridians are now worried about a hurricane of their own, NHS will suspend the drive and focus on Hurricane Irma, projected to hit Florida on Sunday as a Category 4 storm. If necessary, the club will direct the donations it receives to local needs.

OCPS officials moved all varsity athletic games scheduled for Friday, Sept. 8 to Thursday, Sept. 7. Junior varsity games were cancelled and will be rescheduled.

“I got excited that the game wasn’t canceled (due to the storm). I had a blast cheering,” Varsity cheerleader and junior Hannah Bloom said.

During the game, Governor Rick Scott announced that all public schools in the state of Florida will be closed from Friday, Sept. 8 through Friday, Sept. 15.

The National Association of School Psychologists urges communities to gather supplies for the storm in advance.

“I was at Walmart two nights ago for hours. I put the kids to bed and ran out the door. I went to seven different stores to gather everything I need: generator, food and propane,” principal Dusty Johns said.

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