Two year 13 Nayland College students had the “ultimate” earth and marine science lesson earlier this month – even though they technically bunked the class.
William King and Daymon Nuhaj were sitting in class on February 1 when teacher Graeme Bloomfield got a call to say that his Monaco property was flooding during the storm surge that hit the region that day.
Graeme left the class in a panic, only to be surprised by the two boys not long afterwards, eager to help.
“It started off with curiosity, and then we saw how serious it was. When Mr Bloomfield saw we were there, he just said ‘well, you’re here now’,” says Daymon.
After finding Mr Bloomfield’s house safe, they moved down the road only to find another Nayland College teacher, Nigel Lineham, in his garage, hip-deep in water.
The boys flew into action, stopping items from floating away – including paintings, wheelbarrows, kayacks, dinghies – even his cat. “I forgot to save your plastic plates though, sorry Mr Lineham,” laughs Daymon.
They also went around other houses turning off people’s power and gas and helped police evacuate elderly residents.
And, the event wasn’t without a link to classroom learning.
Armed with knowledge from their science classes, the boys analysed the storm’s causes.
Though neither teacher say they would have sent the boys into a natural disaster by choice, both acknowledged their quick-thinking and genuine desire to help.
“They saw a need and stepped in. They both have the skill set to do it, and they were able to make a difference,” says Nigel.
And while William and Daymon made it through the event unscathed, Daymon’s car got hydro-locked and is now a write-off.
Nigel has started a Givealittle page to help Daymon buy a new one. “They did a lot down there, and it seemed a bit cruel – he’s now $1800 out of pocket, minus the $200 he got for scrap metal.”
But Daymon says he “wouldn’t change a thing” and the experience has even sparked an interest in a career in search and rescue.
“You can’t be gutted about something like a car when you see someone’s fridge floating away – people have lost more than me.”
To help Daymon get a new car, see givealittle.co.nz/cause/replace-damons-car-lost-in-a-selfless-act