On Nov. 22, Mt. Hebron students participated in a mock debate that drew the attention of local news station WBAL-TV. The debate related classroom lessons to the real-life natural disaster that took place only a couple of miles away from Mt. Hebron.
The students looked back on the devastating flash flood that ravaged Old Ellicott City in July of this year and discussed various ways on how to prevent another flood from happening again.
“We are discussing the health of our watershed. This lesson has students take on various roles in our watershed community, and they are doing a mock City Council debate meeting where they have to offer suggestions for the next steps in protecting our watershed and community,” said Science teacher Ms. Heather Cassetta.
The roles that the students portrayed were climatologists, city planners, environmentalists, real estate agents and themselves, students living in the area. This allowed them to learn different perspectives of how to attend to the current problem in our society.
Mt. Hebron partnered with the Howard County Conservancy to create this and various other lessons in order to give students an idea of how they can apply their studies to real world problems. This is one of many lessons that the Howard County Conservancy helped make.
Executive Director for the Howard County Conservancy, Meg Boyd, stated, “We have already seen that there is an increase in flooding events and there is an increase in the severity of floods, so for students to learn now — not just about the science piece, but also about the advocacy — is critically important because you are going to be continuing to deal with severe floods as you get older and as you all become community leaders.”
As the students debated different perspectives during their mock trial, they were filmed by a local Baltimore news station, WBAL-TV. Beforehand, some students were interviewed by reporter Omar Jimenez, who reported from Ellicott City when the flood occurred.
“We covered the flooding in Ellicott City from day one. In fact, I was on the ground that first day within hours of it actually flooding, and I was there for the first two big days after the flooding,” said Jimenez.
Since this has been an event that the news center has covered from the start, they found it necessary to broadcast students in the school system taking interest in this natural disaster and how they can better the community as a whole.
“Us, like many people in the community, remember seeing the different images — main street and all of the shops getting flooded — and this has just really been a story that has resonated a lot with the people who were affected by it. To see students coming together and bringing an educational aspect to something that we covered extensively is just a great opportunity for us to add to that whole Ellicott City story,” said Jimenez.
From this lesson, students were able to learn the effects that the environment has on communities and apply them to real-life scenarios that affected their own local town. Altogether, this lesson strengthens the knowledge of students at Mt. Hebron and prepares them for future scenarios.