HIGH SCHOOL HEROES, was an article published in the Smallville Torch, during the week of October 8-15, 2002, it was written by Lana Lang.


After the storm left Smallville in shambles, a bright light emerged from behind the eerie dark clouds--high school heroes got up off the ground, brushed themselves off and looked for ways to help people.

As soon as students realized their families were fine, the kids scattered like lightning bugs. Some who had volunteered at the Smallville Retirement Center last year hurried over to see if help was needed. Miraculously, the parking lot took the brunt of the twister, and the residents inside the building were safe and sound. But our elderly citizens needed some comforting, and a dozen or so students were there to help. When a person's scared, it's nice to feel like someone's looking out for you.

When all of the wounded--like me--lined the halls of the Smallville Medical Center, an interesting thing happened. Over 17 healthy Smallville High students also showed up, volunteering to donate blood. Dr. Kenneth Ruddzehn had never seen anything like it before. "This disaster brought out the best in all of us. Some of the teenagers who came to donate blood ended up volunteering at the front desk or fetching supplies and the like. They just needed to help out," Ruddzehn recalled.

Some other students assisted our law enforcement officials, firefighters and paramedics. Janine Owaw, a junior and the only female member of the wrestling team, and fellow wrestler David Kelley followed firefighters in Owaw's truck and helped the professionals remove tree limbs and debris, rescuing several trapped residents. Professes Owaw, "I was so happy to be able to save people. Principal Kwan always told us to 'give back to the community.' I feel I honored him by helping out." Kelley remembers finding a dog that had stopped breathing. Fireman Josh Kelley (no relation) handed the student an oxygen mask, which David held up to the dog's snout. "After awhile," exclaimed David, "the dog's chest starting moving, and she started breathing. It was so cool! What a great feeling!"

Smallville sophomores Sam Varley and Tim Stern rode in the squad car with Deputy Birdego, assisting him as he checked on residents. "We came upon a garage that was nearly destroyed," explained Varley. "We heard moaning. There were two old people trapped under the rubble. We lifted all of the debris away and rescued them. It made me feel needed."

Downtown merchants marveled at the number of students who helped them keep watch over their stores. The tornado blew out several storefront windows, breaching security. Again, several students came to the rescue and assisted owners and managers in guarding the buildings until the windows could get boarded up.

The Talon was quickly converted into a Red Cross relief center. After my own treatment at the medical center, I joined my fellow Crows at the Talon, assisting wherever we were needed--serving fresh coffee, working the phones, administering first aid and just plain talking to those who needed to talk.

Adults don't normally turn to kids for help. But this time we were needed, and we answered the call. Who knows? Maybe help is disguised in a Smallville High T-shirt wearing a backpack filled with notebooks and pens.

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