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Park Vista High School students create hurricane preparedness for a public service announcement

Posted at 7:48 PM, May 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-19 19:48:49-04

It's been more than a decade since a major hurricane hit South Florida.

For a group of Park Vista High students, they don't remember Wilma's rough winds, Jeanne's torrential rains or Frances' flooding. Their memories are a bit different.

“I remember being trapped in a closet and playing on my mom's blackberry,” said Drew Pancione.

“I was 5 or 6 in kindergarten. I remember eating the ice cream because it was melting,” remarked Hannah Von Holten.

Fast forward 12 years, their first real hurricane experience was Hurricane Matthew.

“It was my first hurricane, I came from New Jersey, so I never experienced one,” said Joshua Scognamillo.

For Christian Alvarez, he’s from Venezuela, so Matthew was his first learning experience.

Drew Pancione remembered seeing, “a lot of people who were scared, there were lines at the gas station, grocery stores.”

Something stuck out to the group of friends.

“We saw a lot of people weren't prepared and didn't know what to do,” said Joshua Scognamillo. 

Hannah  Von Holten admitted, “I guess we were prepared, but not as much as we should've been.”

To make sure no one, not even themselves were caught off guard again, this group of students decided to focus on hurricane preparedness for a public service announcement for the Health Occupations Students of America  competition.

“The main goal was to try and help the community in any way we could,” said Drew Pancione.

The documentary shot entirely off their iPhones. They hit on key supplies and what you should do at home to get ready.

Trae Steele admitted, “I knew some things but not all the things we recorded.”

They uploaded their clips and began the task editing hours of footage to just 30 seconds.

By helping the community, they helped themselves.

“It used to be my parents who did all the preparation work. I now know why we're doing some of this stuff,” said Madison Weech.

Their PSA placed third at regionals, then it was onto state.

“I think we were pretty nervous,” said Christian Alvarez. Then during the awards ceremony, they heard their names called for first place.

“We felt so accomplished, that we did it, best in the state,” remarked Drew Pancione.

Next up for the group, Internationals in June.