Earthquake, Hurricane Frightens Students Despite Small Impact


The end-of-the-world weather that has swept through Maryland in recent weeks has had major impacts on both the students and faculty at RHS.

When the earthquake struck, Junior Dominic Cicatelli was putting a glass of milk in his refrigerator and was so frightened he almost spilled his milk. Cicatelli also did his best to prepare for Hurricane Irene when he realized it was on the horizon. “I made sure all my flashlights had a sufficient amount of batteries.”

Cicatelli also had a gas powered mini-oven that he made sure to have handy in case his power was lost by the storm. The preparation was unnecessary since Dominic never ended up losing power, but numerous others of the Rockville community were not so lucky.

When the earthquake struck, teachers were in a department meeting, but luckily Assistant Principal Bradley Rohner knew what to do. Rohner is from New Jersey, and according to him, in New Jersey they have hurricane drills in their schools. He also taught in Pennsylvania, where they had earthquake drills in the schools, precautionary procedures which RHS lacks since earthquake are uncommon.

Rohner said that most of the faculty are unaware of proper procedures if an earthquake strikes. Rohner added that although the school faculty is unprepared, the school has establish some procedures in the event of an earthquake. “We learned a lot from our point of how to react. So now we know that during an earthquake you’re supposed to duck and cover.”

The damage to the building was also evident with a crack in the conference room wall, and Rohner described the scene when the engineers arrived to inspect Rockville. “We had structural engineers come through and they found all the cracks in the building. Our building was structurally sound, but there was Sheetrock cracks and stuff like that.”

Mr. Rohner asked the important question, “You got to wonder, are buildings built here in Maryland, built the same way they are in California?” However, engineers that have inspected buildings throughout the state believe that the earthquake did damage more superficial then structural, and that no changes in the building standards are necessary.

— Graphic by Shannon Watts.