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Katrina forces change in plans for students



Richard Allen, a senior from Tulane University in New Orleans, receives a welcome bag from Welcome Week Coordinator Abbey Modica at Creighton's welcoming gathering for displaced Louisiana students.
Photo by Jaclyn Schulte

By Jaclyn Schulte
The Catholic Voice


For Loyola University of New Orleans student and Omaha native Meghan Sodoro, Hurricane Katrina changed all of her senior year plans.

She was on her way to New Orleans Aug. 27 when she learned school was cancelled because of the evacuation of New Orleans. . 'I turned my cell phone on and had nine new voice messages from my roommates," said Sodoro.

Upon arriving back in Omaha and watching the devastation unfold on television, Sodoro realized finishing school in New Orleans was not an option.

'At first, we were not sure what was going to happen to the city and school," said Sodoro. 'Other schools had been in classes for two and three weeks and we had not even started." Attending Creighton University was the best plan B, she said.

'Creighton has been more than helpful and overly accommodating," said Sodoro, who started classes Sept. 7. Creighton doesn't offer the specific classes she needed for her degree in international business, but professors have developed an independent studies program that will help her meet graduation requirements.

'I was able to find an old bulletin from my school, so I had the name and description of the classes I need," said Sodoro. She will have the credits she needs for graduation in December, but 'I am not really sure how all the paperwork is going to work out right now," she said, noting much depends on what is going on in New Orleans at that time.

Sodoro is not only missing her senior year of college at the school she has called home for the past three years, she also didn't get to say goodbye to her friends and roommates. But she is keeping it all in perspective.

'To be cut short this year seems kind of insignificant compared to some of the people who are losing their homes and family members down there, but it is still really upsetting for me and my friends," Sodoro said.

Sodoro, who plans on attending graduate school, is the daughter of Emil and Janette Sodoro, members of Christ the King Parish.

She is among 68 students displaced by Hurricane Katrina who have enrolled at Creighton. The majority of the students are from Loyola University of New Orleans, with others from Tulane and the University of New Orleans.

Forty-eight of the students are living on Creighton's campus or in other university housing, with the rest living with families in Omaha.

To learn more about what Creighton University is doing in response to Hurricane Katrina go to Creighton's web site, www2.creighton.edu.

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