Cedar Crest College helps NJ students displaced by Sandy

Hunterdon Co. girls' boarding school finds shelter in Allentown

Author: , Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published: Nov 07 2012 01:00:05 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 06 2012 08:19:10 AM EST

Cedar Crest College is pitching in, post-Sandy, by providing displaced boarding students with a place to keep their studies going.

"Let's go. Let's get out of the darkness," said Marie Juntilla, a student at the Purnell School. "Let's go find a hotel and be together as a school."

The students all attend the Purnell School, an all-girls boarding school based in Pottersville, N.J. 

"I had no idea where we were," said Kara Kansfield, when they told her the students were going to Allentown. "I still technically don't know where we are."

Head of the school, Ayanna Hill-Gill, was on a business trip when Sandy struck. She ended up in Allentown because it was the only place she could fly into.

"I just started making hotel reservations, assuming everyone is going to come out to Allentown," added Hill-Gill. "That's going to have power. It's going to be safe."

The group has been in hotels in Allentown since Wednesday, but when the reservations were coming to an end, they still needed space and reached out to Cedar Crest College.

"We just have to reach out to and see what things in the area we can connect to," said Hill-Gill.

"I got the email with it already in the works because they said, 'Hey, I think they can help," added Carmen Twillie Ambar, president of Cedar Crest College. "Does this seem like it works for everyone, and I think all the senior staff was happy to do it."

Right now, the girls are only attending class at Cedar Crest, but if they need to stay in Pennsylvania longer, they'll stay in residence halls. They are also eating dinner with other friends.

"Perkiomen School, who I know the head there pretty well, and they've offered anything we've needed, and we've been joining them for dinner," said Hill-Gill.

The school still doesn't have power, but students said they are just happy to be somewhere safe.