The Typhoon Simulation

Written by: Jiwon Cyhn

Exactly a month ago, Typhoon Hagupit, which earned its title of the most powerful tropical storm of 2014, raged across the Philippines and resulted in over $144 million worth of damage. Everyone in the Philippines and even some outside the Philippines were impacted in some sort of way – the students of ISM not excluded.

To the placate the disappointed groans and disbelieving gapes of the sophomores and freshmen, ICARE was exchanged with something that would help them understand typhoons better– especially  how to deal with them and their destructive effects. The Typhoon Hagupit Simulation, designed by Mr. Woods, was initiated on Wednesday, first day of ICARE week (as the typhoon led the cancellation of classes for Monday and Tuesday).

The simulation was created to see how quickly the students would respond, and how well they would use the tools they have been given to properly research about typhoons and the Philippines’ geographic profile. Throughout the day, the students discussed ideas and shared the information they found to develop a final plan on how to create a feasible and sustainable response plan to typhoons in the Philippines.

Tamar Azulay, a sophomore member of the group whose plan was voted the best, states that the Typhoon Simulation helped her “understand natural disasters in the Philippines better than ICARE could have.” This is because while she and her peers were researching for the simulation, they “looked at the history of natural disasters,” something that Tamar claims ICARE might not have been able to teach them since participating in ICARE “would have only responded to the immediate damage at our site”.

Ms. Thompson, an excellent station leader, also praised the simulation as it was not only “an excellent idea and a cool way to actually look into how the Philippines assesses the natural disasters that befall this stormy archipelago,” but also as it “was an immediate, real-world, problem, so anytime students can have that type of authentic learning experience” that led the dampened underclassmen to “step outside of their personal annoyances and consider the effects of Typhoon Ruby on the our national community” was something very valuable. Ms. Thompson also remarked on the great interaction that the two batches had with each other and the great work that Mr. McLean and Ms. Paul had dedicated in order to make this simulation so successful. “It would be fun to do a 9/10 day like this annually, each time tackling a real world, issue, concern, or problem in different ways just for the sake of a different learning experience.”

While the freshmen and sophomores missed their ICARE, something they will only experience four times in their whole life, they underwent a project as stimulating and as important, since it taught them to react and respond well to a community in crisis. The typhoon had taken its toll on the people, and while it had impacted us students in some way, the ways we were affected were small compared to the aftermath in the less fortunate places. The simulation had taught us much, and now it is time to use what we learned to respond to the communities that stretch their hands out for help.