Coker students sheltered on campus
HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Several dozen Coker College students were sheltered from Thursday, Sept. 13, through Sunday, Sept. 16, at the DeLoach Center because of the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
Some students were there by choice, others by necessity.
For Kamain McClain, Kiisha Hilliard and Nico Parra, it was both.
McClain is from North Carolina. Hilliard is from Hartsville, but Parra is from Chile and has been through a natural disaster. It just wasn’t a hurricane.
Parra, 22, is from Temuco, Chile, and is a senior business administration student who also plays for the college golf team. He will graduate in May.
In 2010, he was in his hometown when a big earthquake struck.
“This was my first hurricane,” he said. “It was in my mind – something more intense. It went down from a Category 3 to a tropical storm.”
During Hurricane Matthew two years ago, Parra was studying in Little Rock, Arkansas. “I had experienced the earthquake, so I didn’t want to take this for granted,” he said. “Our earthquake was catastrophic.”
Hilliard is a 2016 graduate of Hartsville High School. She is in her junior year and is majoring in English.
“I am no stranger to hurricanes,” she said. “I went through Matthew my freshman year, and I went back to my house. I’m an RA on campus, and they needed people to stay and wrangle up students.
“I met this student from Chile, and we were exchanging stories.”
That student, of course, was Parra.
Both Parra and Hilliard enjoyed the food.
McClain, 21, is from Hickory Grove, North Carolina, and is a junior theater major.
“It seems we get one every year – Matthew, Irma and now Florence,” he said. “This was kind of a new experience. We were allowed to stay in the dorms then.”
McClain seemed to enjoy the recreational aspect of being in the gymnasium with fellow students, most of whom he didn’t know.
Students had access to televisions, gaming equipment, game cards and the like during their stay.
“Before the lights went out, we played video games and watched Netflix,” McClain said.
It was a different story when the lights went out.
“The lights went out, and some people played tag or hide and seek,” McClain said. “It was a Kumbaya moment.”