Sherwood Grad Didn’t Expect Hurricane to Be Part of His College Experience

by Reade Fenner ‘22

While navigating his first week of classes at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, former Sherwood student Joe Diuguid (‘19) heard that Hurricane Dorian was headed his way. 

“After hearing about the hurricane I had a mixed bag of emotions. I was a little nervous as I was new to the area and didn’t want to stay in a shelter,” said Diuguid. “I was also worried about missing class as we would have to make it up later.” However, Diuguid felt some excitement about the situation “as it would be an interesting experience.”

Early weather forecasts predicted Daytona Beach to be in Dorian’s path, so Diuguid was not surprised when his school announced that school would be cancelled beginning August 30 at 5 p.m. He rushed to evacuate soon after finishing his calculus class at 4:50 that day. 

“The evacuation was a pretty stressful ordeal due to having classes ending ten minutes before the evacuation took effect,” Diuguid said. 

Diuguid and a few friends drove with fellow student Ike Dunavant one hour north to stay with Dunavant’s family in Jacksonville, Florida. They remained there for a week, waiting until it was safe to travel back to Embry-Riddle. The city of Jacksonville announced a mandatory evacuation starting September 3, but Diuguid and Dunavant’s family decided to remain there due to the changing weather reports. While in Jacksonville, Diuguid and his friends stayed involved with school-related activities. Diuguid also worked diligently on his homework that his professors scrambled to assign students in an effort to make up for the time they lost because of Dorian. 

Diuguid viewed the experience as nerve-wracking. “I didn’t like the uncertainty around it,” Diuguid said. “The media and their projections changed daily. Also, having to do tons of classwork on the break and worrying about making up classes made it pretty stressful.” Although it brought him a lot of stress, he was relieved to learn that Dorian left Embry-Riddle unscathed when he returned to campus on September 7.