A power outage left most of Central High School in the dark for 39 minutes Thursday morning.
RAPID CITY, S.D. ~ At 8:50am Thursday Central High School lost power in most of the building. Many classes around the school sought relief in better lit areas while others resided in the darkness, resorting to innovative measures to continue their learning.
Cameras, lights, and internet were lost, compelling many teachers to take their classes to the commons or other parts of the building with large windows for light. District officials say heat was not affected, however some teachers noted temperatures dropped in their classrooms. In classrooms without windows, teachers allowed students to pull out their phones and use the flashlight in an attempt to continue. “It was completely dark,” said Cassandra Garcia, who teaches Spanish. “The students used flashlights on their phones and we tried to carry on with work, but the students were making it impossible. They were silly and just not used to something like this.” “Business as usual” can be a difficult thing to maintain in a Spanish 1 class full of freshmen.
The Social Studies department experienced similar circumstances. “The students were goofier than normal, but that was expected,” history teacher Erik Iverson said. The entire department was dark but nonetheless they were able to continue work.
Leah Anderson, a senior, who was in the choir room when the power outage happened, had a frightening experience. “We turned on flashlights, and it was dark and cold and wet and scary,” she said. “We locked the doors because we thought someone was going to come in and kill us.”
The technology department was greatly impacted. Due to the loss of power, none of the computers were working. However personal finance teacher Thad Caldwell said, “I enjoyed it. I continued to talk, I can talk in the dark.” Their class was still able to go over the information they needed to.
Math teacher Brynn Birkeland said her class was saved by the window in their room. They had to resort to the dry-erase whiteboards as the Promethean board was out of commission, but she says her students remained quiet and they were still able to accomplish their tasks.
English teacher Jennifer Muller’s initial reaction to the outage was mundane. “Cool, that’s great,” she said. “We continued to work until the students lost wi-fi. Then we just went to the library.”
Another senior student, Taylor Linde, said it was very hard to get any work done. “I was in pre-calc during the outage,” she said. “We opened windows to allow light in, while Adam Jerzak was screaming and students were making jokes.”
The school stood in darkness for 39 minutes before power was restored just before second block was set to begin.
All newer parts of the building like the activities center, performing arts, freshman house, and the science wing were unaffected, whereas older parts of the building lost all power. The outage seems to be the cause of a trip in the main breaker panel located directly underneath the security desk. Kristina VanZee, the secretary in the main office, reports a blown breaker yesterday causing several outlets to go out.
The exact cause of the outage, however, is still unknown, and assistant principal Randy Seales has asked teachers if they are aware of circumstances that could have caused the surge in electricity that left 2,000 teenagers in the dark.
Photo courtesy of drama teacher Justin Speck