– St Thomas of Canterbury College, Middlepark Road, Sockburn, Canterbury, New Zealand

As the ground shook.

February 22nd 2011, 12:51p.m, the most catastrophic event in Christchurch’s history was happening and I was sitting in class watching the walls waving at me and the books all trembling like excited children, most were jumping out at me. The lights were swinging so hard they hit the roof, denting it as they did so.

When the movement seemed to have stopped I slowly stood up and moved for the door but I couldn’t get my feet to move, I then looked around the room to see horrified faces surrounding me looking for someone to take charge and it seemed that in a room full of teenagers I seemed to be the only one who wasn’t crying. Then I decide to become the one who took charge and ordered everyone out, as we made our way out on to the field our group spread out into form classes.

The teachers signaled for silence and then the headmaster began to give orders to file into the hall. “Boom” was the sound that rang out as the first aftershock hit……………………… silence deafeningly silent “everyone out” called someone. I then felt myself being picked up off the ground, as I look up I see Matt looking down on me crying saying “Come on mate we have to go”. I don’t really remember leaving the hall. Without shedding a tear through this whole event I see mum walking towards me, overcome with emotion I fell into mum’s arms and cried unable to stop myself. I swear that was the best hug I will ever have in my life, the sense of security and safeness of that hug will never be forgotten. I can’t remember much of the car trip home all I can remember is following a 4 wheel-drive and mum saying If the truck falls in a hole we will walk the rest of the way.

The most rewarding moment of the 7 hour car trip was driving up the driveway to see dad standing on the steps, with a look of pure relief on his face that our family could be together and deal with the emotion of losing all our possessions that we had worked so hard to get but that didn’t matter most the most important thing was that we were together and all safe.

February 22nd 2011 the day that changed us forever.
Jonathan Odom 13 years

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