Nathan McCray, a seventh-grader at Manor Middle School, spent a week at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., studying the effects of hurricanes from a medical and health standpoint.

Courtesy photo

When Killeen Independent School District seventh-grader Nathan McCray went to Florida to study the impact of hurricanes on public health and medical needs, he wasn’t expecting to get a taste of the real thing.

McCray, who will attend Manor Middle School next year, traveled to Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., earlier this month to participate in the Duke University CRISIS program. The weeklong camp tasks groups of students with researching and organizing a response to a mock crisis.

McCray was tasked with responding to a hurricane from a health and medical standpoint.

“We studied how hurricanes impact people, and what kind of help they would need,” McCray said.

That included studying the body and its systems, and learning medical rescue techniques and CPR.

“I was interested (in the program) because I want to go into the medical field,” McCray said. “It was very interesting and fun.”

While the hurricane McCray and the other students tackled was only theoretical, their time at Eckerd coincided with the development of Tropical Storm Chantal in the Atlantic Ocean.

“We started to get lots of rain because of the storm,” McCray said. “It got pretty bad, and it didn’t stop for two days.”

McCray said he was glad when the rain finally let up. Despite the close brush with the storm, McCray said he enjoyed his time in the program, and recommended that other students consider participating next year.

Contact Chris McGuinness at or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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