December 11, 2012
Cape Hatteras students travel off
island with help from their friends
damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy and back-to-back northeasters has
closed down Highway 12 to all but four-wheel-drive vehicles in a
stretch at the S-curves in northern Rodanthe. The only other
access to Hatteras Island is by emergency ferry which takes more than
two hours each way.
This has caused a world of trouble for residents, business owners, vendors, and service providers.
headaches are not so apparent, but nonetheless significant. For
instance, groups of high school students who need to travel for
school-related activities have been faced by serious challenges.
lengthy ferry ride takes a toll on instructional time for teams and
groups of students who need to attend athletic and other events.
Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies Principal Jean Taylor and
Dare County Schools Transportation Director David Twiddy put their
heads together in November in anticipation of winter sports and other
events, such as the DECA club's travel to a state conference in early
Highway 12 has been open most of the time this month
-- but only to four-wheel-drive vehicles. That is not an option for the
district's activity buses, which have to use the ferry.
has one four-wheel-drive vehicle. He called the office of Sheriff Doug
Doughtie to seek options. With enthusiastic buy-in from Scott and
Martha Caldwell of Island Convenience in Rodanthe, Twiddy and Doughtie
devised a plan.
Island Convenience is making available its
parking lot to buses that bring students to that point, where they are
picked up in Twiddy's and the sheriff's office four-wheel-drive
vehicles to transport students in a type of four-wheel-drive relay bus.
Once over the four-wheel-only portion of Highway 12, the students load onto other buses that take them to their destination.
It’s not optimal, but it's working.
first groups to go were basketball teams, cheerleaders, and DECA
members on Dec. 4. The hour of departure for the DECA club, en route to
Charlotte, would have been unthinkable had it not been for the
In addition to Island Convenience,
Twiddy credits the sheriff's office and willing drivers, including
First Flight Middle School Resource Officer Jody Lewis, First Flight
High School Athletic Director Ray Scott, and Hatteras bus drivers Billy
Rutledge and Kenneth Randall.
This method will continue
to be used to take groups of students back and forth, including taking
Manteo and First Flight teams to Hatteras for the Hurricane's home
Twiddy has agreed to transport another type of
passenger—actually cargo -- later this month if the need is still
there. To raise funds for travel expenses, DECA members sold $6,000 of
Florida citrus, which Twiddy says his team will transport to keep the
club from not only losing its main source of funds but also not to
incur any expenses if the club could not take delivery of the fruit.
Food for Thought items bound for Hatteras students are going the same
The support means a lot to the entire school community,
especially to teachers, who are protective of their
instructional/classroom time. Extra hours for travel time means
instructional time lost. This solution maximizes students' time in
Twiddy is elated with the collaboration and the sense of community that it reflects.
"It's for the kids, you know," Twiddy remarked. "That's what it's about. That's why we're here."