Lights Out at Wiregrass


Many teachers decided to take their students out into the courtyard during the power outage to take advantage of the cool breeze.

The temperature in the Sahara Desert during the daytime in summer commonly exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Many Wiregrass Ranch High School (WRHS) students would agree that was how it felt here at WRHS on Monday, October 3rd, due to the school’s air conditioning failing.

On Sunday, October 2nd, a storm took place that caused damage around the Wesley Chapel area. Said damage included electricity failure among many places, one of them being WRHS.

Molly Caskey, a senior at WRHS, spoke about her personal experience during the storm.

“At one point the power in my house went out, which caused the whole house to be completely silent. I kind of felt like it was the beginning of an apocalypse…or, at least, what every apocalypse movie begins with,” said Caskey.

The storm caused the transformer at the school to explode, resulting in the school running on a back-up generator all day. The generator allowed the school to have minimum lighting, but no Wi-Fi, working water fountains, or air conditioning.

Once beads of sweat began to form, most students refused to stay on campus any longer. Many called their parents to check them out, and others just dashed to their air-conditioned cars and left.

“We have lights, and windows and doors are open to circulate air. Students are receiving box lunches in the cafeteria and we are providing bottled water to drink. All water is working except for drinking fountains,” stated the school in a phone call to parents and on the Pasco County Schools’ Facebook page.

The school addressed the situation as soon as they could, and informed teachers, students, and parents that they were not going to cancel school for the day. The school stated in a phone call that canceling school for the day would leave them no choice but to cut into days for Thanksgiving break; since they had already canceled days for a hurricane that took place in the beginning of September.

The district of Pasco County and the administration at WRHS felt as though keeping school open for the day was still the best decision for them to make. When asked to think back on the tragic day, Assistant Principal Christy Rankin explained her thoughts.

“I think that we still made a good decision to not cancel the school day,” began Rankin. “We were able to provide water and food for students, and we made it to where there was air flowing so it was not excruciating for them. I still think that there was some good teaching that went on throughout the day, therefore I do not think the day was wasted.”

Although the staff believed the day should not be cancelled, the students greatly disagreed. Almost half the student body vanished within a few hours of the school day. Others stuck it out like champions and spent their class day outside, trying to catch a little bit of the Florida breeze.

Sarah Murphy, a senior at WRHS, is one of many students who felt strongly about the situation.

“I went into school with a hoodie on,” sighed Murphy. “Usually my classes are a bit chilly so I can wear a hoodie throughout the day, but almost instantly I felt like I was melting. We got lucky though, because it was overcast and cool outside.”

Withlacoochee Electric was on site as soon as they were able to. They spend all day on campus in an attempt to fix the problem. Eventually, they decided that the only thing they could do was install a new transformer and hope the power would be restored in time for the following school day.

“We really did think that the power would be back on sooner in the day,” continued Rankin. “It really was not that bad, though. I was still able to get work done; and I did not have sweat pouring off of me while I did.”