This morning about 65 students from Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines are going to be going to class at Cedar Rapids Xavier, another Catholic High School. The Des Moines-area students, along with 15 adult volunteers and another 16 volunteers from Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, arrived in Cedar Rapids on Saturday to work on flood cleanup projects.
Carolyn Campbell, a senior at Dowling, was among the volunteers. "It’s all so really eye-opening, to see that this is like right in our backyard, what’s going on right now," Campbell says. Karen Soliday, one of the adults who organized the Dowling kids’ trip, says trip is an eye-opener for the kids.
"You can show them all the pictures you want and you can talk about how high the water was, but until they walk into a basement and step into four or five inches of muck — they just didn’t have any idea what it was going to be like," Soliday says.
The Dowling and Xavier students will talk this morning about the flood and about their experiences in Cedar Rapids. According to officials from Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, the group of more than 100 Des Moines-area volunteers hoped to be able to clean, gut, weed and mow 50 properties. The volunteers attended mass on Sunday morning at St. Wenceslas Catholic Church which celebrated its re-opening this Sunday.