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Hurricane-Displaced Students Enjoy Appalachian

By Justin Boulmay

d05_11scanaurra05.jpgBOONE – When Loyola University junior David Scandurra and Tulane University junior Erica Mire started classes this semester, neither of them could have predicted they would end up at Appalachian State University. Hurricane Katrina changed that.

After the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast and their universities shut down for the fall, Scandurra decided to take the semester off and drive home to Cape Cod, Mass.

“When I was planning my drive up north, I figured that I would check out some other schools on the way that had my major,” he said. “I went on Google and typed in ‘music industry program,’ and Appalachian was the first school that came up. So I figured I’d check it out.”

Scandurra and Mire are two of the five students who came to Appalachian because of the hurricane. Appalachian and other UNC System schools offered Gulf Coast students a semester with no tuition and fee costs.

“They made it pretty easy to get me in,” Scandurra said. “They were really nice in helping me out.”

Mire, a double major in art studio and art history, attended Louisiana State University for about a week but could not get any of the classes she needed. She has friends who attend Appalachian, so she applied a few days after arriving at LSU.

“The people at Appalachian were really, really helpful,” she said. “They told me to just come on down here and I’ll get into any classes I need to get into.”

When they came to Appalachian, Mire and Scandurra got plugged into classes and activities they enjoy. Mire attends Campus Christian Fellowship and is taking art classes toward her major.

Scandurra, a music industry studies major, performs in the Mariam Cannon Hayes School of Music’s jazz ensemble. When he graduates from college, he wants to start a non-profit organization called “Music for Global Awareness” that showcases bands while addressing issues such as environmental depravation and inequality.

Scandurra plans to take next semester off and reapply to several other schools. He’ll apply to Appalachian if he can get a scholarship similar to what he had at Loyola.

“It’s been good overall,” Scandurra said. “It’s a different college experience than what I had at Loyola. It’s very diverse. There are different kinds of people.”

Mire wants to go back to Tulane but said coming to Appalachian has been a good experience for her. “I hope to be able to come back and visit more, rather than just during the summer,” she said.

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Picture Caption: David Scandurra, formerly of Loyola University, is among students enrolled at Appalachian State University after Hurricane Katrina. (Appalachian photo by University photographer Mike Rominger)