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Jesuit Chronicle

Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.

Jesuit Chronicle

Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.

Jesuit Chronicle

January storm creates chaos while students anticipate finals

James Kennedy
A large tree fell during the January storm and severely damaged the Kennedys’ home.

Last month, many Jesuit students found themselves stranded in freezing, powerless homes— or worse, dealing with storm damage and the need to find a temporary place to live— amid finals stress.

High wind speeds and water logged ground made perfect conditions for trees to completely up-root or crack in half. According to the Portland Tribune, over 675 trees fell in the Portland area between the 13th and 17th of January, some of which landed on Jesuit students’ homes.

The January 2024 ice storm was one that Portland residents will remember for a long time. From a survey on the Jesuit Media Instagram, 131 respondents, about one third of the total, had power outages for 5 or more days. 75 respondents, nearly 20%, replied that their property was slightly damaged, and 42, about 10%, replied that their property was severely damaged.

One of those students who was hit hard by the storm was junior Abby Bartow. On Saturday the 13th, a large tree fell through her home and missed her family, but caused considerable damage.

“We had to live at our friend’s house for 10 days, and we are in a rental for up to three months,” Bartow said. Her home, covered in tarp, will be under repair for at least a month.

As one can imagine, studying while in her situation and taking finals the following week was out of the question.

On January 20th, Principal Mr. Maxie sent out an email regarding those who had been affected by the storm stating, “If students need to reschedule one or more finals due to their family’s situation …please fill out this survey and we will work with students and families to create a suitable schedule.”

The flexibility of being able to reschedule finals based on student needs was meant to relieve stress, but unfortunately was not a comprehensive solution for some students.

Bartow was able to postpone her finals, because getting materials and studying were nearly impossible while adjusting to the new environments. However, delaying her finals only meant having twice the workload the week after exams. The week after exams, teachers quickly start to introduce new material, so students who had to reschedule their tests were juggling new and old material.

“[Rescheduling finals] caused a lot more stress on top of all of the house stress,” Bartow said, as the “solution” was not very helpful in her situation.

Other students endured a similar week.

On Saturday morning, a Douglas Fir came crashing down on sophomore James Kennedy’s house and nearly hit his younger brother Charlie. The tree, putting their home in unlivable condition, caused the family to temporarily move out.

“We’re in a rental home now,” Kennedy said.

Senior Aidan Smith added that he had a similar experience.

“My family and I were playing board games when, we saw through the window, a massive tree fell right on the roof and another on our power lines,” Smith said.

After staying at friends’ houses and in hotel rooms for a week or so, Smith said, “I couldn’t really study. It was a tough week.” He is back in his home, but the storm certainly put a wrench in the week.

Like other students temporarily displaced during the storm, they both felt that the chaos affected the ability to study and the outcome of the tests.

“[The damage] made it a lot more stressful. We were unable to study because the power was out, and overall were just very frantic,” Kennedy said.

Jesuit students experienced various degrees of damage, some completely unaffected, but some students who were affected felt that the school’s response was not sufficient. Having to delay their finals left these students behind their classmates in lessons.

“I think it was a poor decision to keep finals because it caused a lot of stress for us,” Smith said.

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About the Contributor
Evelyn Kennedy
Evelyn Kennedy, Assistant Editor-in-Chief
Evelyn Kennedy, a junior at Jesuit High School, was born in Portland and has also grown up in Chicago and Seattle. She is creative and spends her free time reading, writing, drawing, spending time in nature, and baking. Aside from that, she loves laughing with friends and spending time with family, including her dog Willie and sophomore sister Molly. She plans to pursue a career where she can be creative. From a young age Evelyn has loved writing short stories and being imaginative. Evelyn is interested in learning about, as well as writing about, social justice issues, the arts, and pop culture. Her goal for her high school years is to constantly be learning new things, within the media production world, and beyond. Evelyn is overall curious about the world and wants to share her interest with others. She hopes to travel and find fulfillment in volunteer work throughout her life.