Sometimes it seems I can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Many days can go by without thinking about what I’m surrounded by.

After my college graduation from ISU, I was lucky enough to move back home and retain a job with NEW Cooperative as a communications assistant. I spend my days posting to our social media pages, taking pictures, planning events and everything else that falls under that umbrella (this includes a lot of stuff).

My first task before I started full-time was to attend a senior awards night at the South Central Calhoun high school in Lake City. I was announcing two scholarship recipients for NEW Cooperative.

A firefighter from Rockwell City got up to give an award during the first half. He was saying how numerous times over his daughter’s school career that his buzzer went off and he had to miss his daughter’s performance. As he finished giving his award, the tornado sirens in Lake City started to go off.

At this time, we were told we needed to proceed to the basement underneath the auditorium we were in. Everybody remained calm because usually when the tornado sirens go off, the tornado usually isn’t anywhere to be found.

Everyone headed to the basement and we were down there for about 10 minutes. All of a sudden a couple people that had been watching outside ran down and yelled, “it’s coming”! A few seconds later, the tornado hit. It didn’t last long, but it sounded just like a train and my ears popped.

After administrators checked it over, they said it was safe for us to come up. The announced that the awards ceremony would be postponed and that there was quite a bit of damage outside.

That there was, the roof of the auditorium where the awards ceremony was had actually been torn off and debris was everywhere include tree branches, metal and pink insulation. Extensive damage occurred at the high school and houses in the area. Awhile after the tornado, a second storm came through with heavy rains and wind, causing more damage, but I was able to get home before that.

Needless to say it was quite the first day on the job experience! This event reminded me to be thankful for everyday and that no one was hurt throughout the town or with everyone in the school. I will assure you that my following weeks at my new job have gone much better.


Kayla Degner was born and raised in rural Lytton, IA on a diversified grain and livestock family farm. She graduated from Rockwell City-Lytton in May 2012 and currently attends Iowa State University studying Agricultural Communications. Her past involved many agriculture venues. Kayla has a strong interest in advocating to the youth involved in agriculture.

Contact her at [email protected].