ACCS senior helping Texas Hurricane Harvey victims

Published 10:56 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2017


NATCHEZ — When Adams County Christian School senior Harley Martin heard about the devastation Hurricane Harvey caused she wanted to do something.

A few short weeks later, Martin was loading hundreds of water bottles into the back of an 18-wheeler that was headed to south Texas.

Email newsletter signup

Martin first brought her idea to ACCS’ student council, of which she is executive president, and said she found much more support than she anticipated.

“I thought I was going to bring it up and everybody would say, ‘Yeah that’s a good idea,’ then just fall out of it,” Martin said. “But it wasn’t. Every time I turned around it was just cases and cases of water coming in.”

Martin said she and some of her friends at school have family who live in south Texas and were affected by the flooding and storms.

“Just to send a little something to help, it helped everybody here, too,” Martin said. “Everybody felt like ‘Oh my gosh, we did something to help thousands of people there.’”

Soon, she said, the whole school was involved.

“We got it all together and brought it to our lunchroom and filled the whole stage up with water,” Martin said. “Some people brought canned foods, too. It was a huge turnout, more than I thought would come.”

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office took a shipment of donated goods from Natchez to Texas in early September and picked up the water bottles and canned goods from ACCS.

Martin said between ACCS’ donations and the donations from other churches, schools and organizations, the students had to get creative to fit it all in the truck.

Opportunities for community involvement and leadership, such as organizing the hurricane relief drive, Martin said, are why she wanted to be executive president of the student council.

But her activism — in the community and in the seven sports teams and school clubs she is a member of — is also meant to set an example for the younger children at her school.

“That’s what we tell people now: Be that leader. Know there are kids looking up to you all the time,” Martin said. “They look up to me and when I do something good, they’re going to do it, too.”

Martin said her passion for leadership grew when she became a member of Youth Leadership Natchez last year and as a member of the Mayor’s Youth Council this year.

“I really didn’t understand how much there is to do for the community in Natchez,” she said.  “(Mayor Darryl Grennell) asks us our opinions on these community events, and we have a say-so even though we’re only 17 or 18 years old. That’s a big deal.”

Rick Fife, principal at Adams County Christian School, said Martin is a mature and goal-driven student.

“She’s well beyond her years,” Fife said. “She’s set her goals, and she’s reaching for them.”

As a senior, it’s almost time for Martin to leave her parents’ — Joey and Stephanie Martin’s —home and head to college.

She hopes to attend Louisiana State University and eventually become an anesthesiologist, but Martin said she also hopes the work she has done here will last.

“I want people to remember when I was president we did so much and we accomplished so much,” she said. “I want people in Natchez to know that if they need something, they can call the student council or Key Club at ACCS, and they’re going to come. They can depend on us.”