Winter storm strands Maryland students in Nashville after field trip

Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Students of the Spring Ridge Middle School’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (S.T.E.M.) program flew to Nashville for their annual trip to space camp in Huntsville.

Spring Ridge Middle School is in Lexington, Maryland, in St. Mary’s County.

At the end of the five day camp, the group of 48 students and two teachers boarded their charter bus to return to Nashville for a Friday flight back to Maryland.

“On our way back we checked our flights and everything was good to go. We were all on time,” Mathematics Teacher Kristy Wilhite said. “When we hit the snow at 6 a.m. we said, ‘Ok this could be an issue,’ but everyone said we would make it. Everything was fine.”

She continued, “We get to the airport all on time, we get to security all on time and just as I put my bag on the belt the guy behind me said you know they closed Nashville airport.”

Whilhite tried to have the charter bus return to take the kids back to Space Camp in Huntsville, but the road conditions got so bad the bus could not make the trip.

So the students and teachers are now snowed in and staying at a hotel near the airport.

“Just hanging out and having snow ball fights, hanging out in the room watching TV as well as playing some games in the back room here,” Wilhite said. “The southern hospitality is just amazing. The Nashville airport did everything they could to help us get to a hotel.”

They have also had other guests at the hotel help out.

“We have had multiple people here donate extra snacks,” she said. “The games they were playing in the back were donated by a group of women from Panama City they handed them to us as they were walking out and said I think your kids would enjoy playing these games.”

The kids themselves are trying to keep their spirits up, and they plan on flying back home Tuesday.

The same storm that dumped several inches of snow on Middle Tennessee is now dumping feet of snow on their hometown and the nearby airports they would fly into when they return.

“My mom’s been saying we are probably going to get back by Monday,” student Anabel Eschenbrenner said. “I liked snow but now I don’t.”

Seth Baker told us he is trying to be patient as he waits with his classmates to know when they will fly home.

“They got us here quickly and I am glad that they did,” he said. “I know I am going to get back home I just don’t know exactly when.”

He continued, ”but I can wait here all I need to.”

Home sickness is also setting in for the students.

“I miss my parents and my siblings,” student Patrick Albright said. “So yeah, I want to get home.”

Wilhite told News 2 they are scheduled to fly out of BNA on Sunday evening, but if not they will have to come up with another plan.

“Our big concern is even if we get a flight out we don’t know if the parents can get to the airport to get their children,” she said.

The students were told not to travel with cash and according to parents, the school is picking up all the expenses.

Anyone who would like to help the stranded students you can email their teacher Kristy Wilhite at KjWilhite@smcps.org or email the Spring Ridge Middle School Principal Angela Fult at AmFulp@smcps.org.

 

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