Student affected by Hurricane Harvey will walk triumphantly at Lone Star College-Montgomery commencement Thursday, May 10
Style Magazine Newswire | 5/10/2018, 11:55 a.m.
It is hard to imagine that recovery is still ongoing if you were not affected by Hurricane Harvey, but for Lone Star College-Montgomery student Holly Clay, it is just a fact of life. She lost everything in the floods and rebuilt from the ground up while staying on track with her education. Now, when she triumphantly marches across the stage to receive her Associates of Arts degree at the LSC-Montgomery’s commencement on Thursday May 10, the moment will be twice as sweet.
“Hurricane Harvey has been a very rough, trying experience,” said Clay. “I do not think people really understand the severity of what happened. You see it on television, but to go through it is totally different.”
Clay lived off FM 1960 and Aldine Westfield Road. Her complex was elevated about four feet off the ground, but she still eventually got more than four feet of water in her apartment.
“The day Hurricane Harvey hit, I kept seeing the firefighters and the National Guard outside, so I packed one bag and that is all I have of my old belongings,” remembered Clay. “Whatever I could fit, I packed. When I was rescued, the water was so high, the firefighter had to pick me up, throw me over his shoulder and put me in a boat.”
Clay admits she planned to delay school that semester.
“I had lost everything,” she said. “I did not have notebooks, I was literally starting from scratch - you name it I had to buy it: underwear, socks, pants, shoes everything! It was hard to imagine school on top of getting important parts of my life in order.”
Clay started living with a friend of hers when a former Spanish professor, Norseman Hernandez got in touch with her.
“Norseman checked in on me,” said Clay. “I told him the situation and he immediately urged me to come back to LSC-Montgomery. He begged me to take just one class, so I re-registered as soon as I could get Internet access. I ended up taking two classes, I was able to manage it somehow, but I honestly I do not know how I did it. I still do not know how I made it through all that mentally. Everything was so up in the air, so day-to-day.”
Clay says in the midst of the natural disaster she truly saw the good in people.
“Living through the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey gave me hope in humanity because people who did not even know me came to my aid when I needed it,” reflected Clay. “LSC-Montgomery helped me through the Harvey Relief Fund and the Food Pantry. Professors kept up with me, making sure I was okay and I appreciate that, it really meant everything to me at the time. I work at a leading fashion retailer in The Woodlands and my job heard about my situation. They came through for me, making sure I had a deposit for a new apartment before FEMA kicked in.”
This is not the first punch Clay has felt from Mother Nature, she also lost her car in the 2016 Tax Day Floods. As she celebrates her educational accomplishments, all these memories still loom large in the background.