Private Schools Serve After Tornado

Even though many students and teachers at area private schools were personally affected by the Oct. 20 tornado, a strong commitment to public service brought them out to help neighbors in the aftermath.

The storm impacted about 50 Parish Episcopal School families. Still, head of school Dave Monaco said that didn’t stop them from coming to the aid of one of their partner Dallas ISD campuses, Cigarroa Elementary. 

“As we offered support to our own families, we also recognized how significantly the Cigarroa community – where 90% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch – had been impacted,” he said. 

Students and faculty not only worked to help ready Loos Athletic Complex to house three Dallas ISD elementary schools simultaneously but also delivered more than $6,000 in gift cards to impacted families through their partnership with the nonprofit United to Learn.

Episcopal School of Dallas and St. Marks students worked together to help clear yards and houses of debris, as well as transport valuables, in affected neighborhoods. 

Greenhill students and teachers also helped prepare Loos Field House, and Good Shepherd Episcopal School made breakfast for neighbors affected by the tornado.

Ursuline social studies teacher Jeff Girard was unsurprised by the readiness of students to jump in and help – the word serve is in their motto, he said. 

Girard, who volunteered at Dallas ISD’s Loos Field House after the tornado despite having damage to his own home, recalled one student who took food to relief workers. 

“I know that many of our students and families, as well as our teachers, staff, and administrators, have been able to help families, friends, and neighbors in need,” said Ursuline principal Andrea Shurley. “I have never felt the force of Serviam as much as I have in these past few weeks.”


Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at

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