Junior Jordan Davis, originally from Whitney, Texas, about 25 miles away from West, is spearheading the collection of bottled water, personal products and snacks today and tomorrow in the FFA garage at the school, located at 13550 Woods Spillane Blvd. in Cypress.
Davis and two of his friends -- Cypress Ranch High School juniors Dalton Davis and Kyle Wright -- and family members will haul the supplies in a trailer to the city Saturday morning, where they will link up with a local relief group dropoff point.
Davis said he first saw footage of the blast about an hour and a half after the explosion occurred at a fertilizer plant in West.
"I was just in pure shock," said Davis, who moved to Cypress from Whitney three years ago. "I played football in West many times. I have friends there and know quite a few people there. I stayed up late making some calls to make sure everyone was OK."
When he arrived at school before first period, the first person he sought out was teacher Andrea VanSickle.
"The first thing he said to me was that he wanted to organize something to help," VanSickle said. "We brainstormed really quickly and went next door to talk to Mr. [Craig] Self, and the ball got rolling from there."
Self, Cypress Woods' student council advisor, helped organize the effort and spread the initial communication through parent and community groups.
Principal Gary Kinninger said he is proud of the way the Wildcats have banded together so quickly to help out a community in need.
"This is no surprise to me. As the Wildcats do, they come together and unite and take care of people that are in distress, whether it's locally or a few hours away," Kinninger said. "The kids have rallied and are taking over this project, and it's gaining steam. What I anticipate happening is going to be incredible."
Cypress Woods is accepting donations through 6pm Friday, April 19. Items requested are bottled water, diapers, toiletries and non-perishable food. For more information, contact Craig Self at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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