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Students to Spend Spring Break Helping Hurricane Victims

Volunteers prepare for Katrina-relief missionBy Juli Reppert, student writer/photographer

During the March 5-12 Spring Break, 18 Pennsylvania College of Technology students will join a team of 200 other volunteers at Camp Coast Care, a relief center in Long Beach, Miss., for survivors of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast.

After hurricanes devastated the Gulf Coast last year, the Student Government Association at Penn College sought help from the Student Activities Office to organize a way for students to aid hurricane victims. The Spring Break trip is the culmination of that planning.

Since the first days after the storm, Camp Coast Care has offered help to survivors in the form of a distribution center for food, cleaning supplies, personal-hygiene products and clothing. It also provides a free medical clinic and housing for the volunteers who come to clean up and rebuild local homes and communities.

The Penn College students along with two college staff members will leave at 6 a.m. March 4 and arrive in Long Beach the following day. They will stay in a large gymnasium on cots and work in the affected communities every day for the duration of the trip.

Matthew WeiserThe college will pay for most of the students’ travel-related expenses; Camp Coast Care will provide meals and lodging for them while they are in Long Beach.

“I really didn’t know what to expect as far as what the interest would be from the students,” said Kimberly R. Henry, assistant director for student development in the college’s Student Activities Office and the coordinator for the trip. “The response, though, was fantastic! I am really impressed how quickly the spots filled up, and we even had to create a waiting list.”

The students say they are excited about the trip and eager to lend a hand.

“I am looking forward to meeting new people from other colleges and building friendships with others in our own Penn College group and the satisfaction of being able to know you made a difference in someone’s life,” said Matthew Weiser, 20 a graphic design major from RR 1 Herndon.

Amanda G. LeClair“I’m very involved in organizations and events on campus, and I want to help others because of my involvement,” said Amanda G. LeClair, a dental hygiene-health policy and administration major from Reading. “I wanted to be involved with this project from the first time I heard about it: to have that feeling when we are finished, and seeing what we have done for others.”

Timothy A. Senavaitis“I’m anxious to be placed in a different situation, to broaden my horizons as a person and become more humble,” said Timothy A. Senavaitis, a manufacturing engineering technology major from Bernville. “I haven’t experienced something like this before in my life, and I want to make an impact on people who really need the help. It is an experience to tell others that I’ve witnessed firsthand.”

Other students going on the trip are: Thomas W. Clouser, State College, welding and fabrication engineering technology; Frank J. Corasaniti III, Reisterstown, Md., aviation maintenance technology; Scott T. Cukovich; Renfrew, building construction technology; Douglas M. Bittner, Bel Air, Md., aviation maintenance technology; Shannon M. Johnson, Bloomsburg, pre-surgical technology; Jamie L. Lear, Cogan Station, business administration-management information systems; Michael T. Magargel, Williamsport, business administration-management; Andrew S. McDonald, Muncy, landscape/nursery technology; Michelle L. Miller, Jersey Shore, applied health studies-occupational therapy assistant; Jarred P. Moyer, Reading, architectural technology; Mark T. Orleski, Gettysburg, landscape nursery technology; Melissa A. Sitlinger, Herndon, technology management; Anthony R. Sofranek, Newport, information technology-network specialist; Sarah E. Thomas, South Williamsport, business administration-marketing; and Harry A. Williams, New Cumberland, surveying technology.

Timothy J. MalleryThe staff/chaperones are Timothy J. Mallery, assistant director of residence life/coordinator of housing operations, and Jennifer A. George, student life information specialist.

“I believe that, through every experience and interaction, you become a wiser person,” Mallery said. “I hope to return from the trip with a stronger understanding of the realities of life and a greater appreciation of securities that can be easily taken for granted.”

For more information about Camp Coast Care, visit online .

For more information about Penn College, call toll-free (800) 367-9222 or visit on the Web .

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