Wiregrass Ranch opens as shelter for Irma


During the day, the guests were able to make their way around the school.

Wiregrass Ranch, along with many other schools in Pasco County opened up as a shelter during Hurricane Irma. Pasco County Schools tweeted that they “housed more than 22,500 people and more than 1,800 pets during Hurricane Irma.”  Many teachers and even some students volunteered their time to help at these shelters.

Junior Nick Jung came to Wiregrass Ranch on Saturday before the storm arrived to volunteer and came back to volunteer again on Monday.

“The people volunteering here didn’t stop for hours,” Jung explained. “They were cooking, helping people into their rooms, and trying to help make this experience easier for everyone.”

Not only did the students and staff of Wiregrass Ranch (WRHS) volunteer, but some of them even stayed overnight, including WRHS sophomore Valentina Orochena.

“I felt comfortable staying overnight at the shelter,” Orochena said. “Even though the food was just lunch food, I am grateful that we had this shelter to keep me and all the others safe.”

English teacher, Patricia Bacon volunteered at the shelter throughout the entirety of the storm.

“I helped escort families to their rooms. I also made sure everyone wrote their room number on their wrist bands so they wouldn’t get turned around or lost, like freshman when they first come to the school,” Bacon explained.

Principal Robyn White was very proud of the group of volunteers and workers she had at the shelter.

“We had a great shelter team and a ton of support from outside agencies,” White explained.

Wiregrass reached capacity as a shelter on Saturday. Every room was used to give shelter to those who needed it.

“I’ve never been so proud of our school,” Bacon said.