Auburn University Executive MBA students adopt Texas school ravaged by Hurricane Ike

AUBURN – A class of more than 50 Auburn University students enrolled in the Executive MBA program have reached out to help a school in Texas whose building was left uninhabitable by September’s Hurricane Ike.

The idea originated with Auburn EMBA student Kristie Barton, a distribution manager for Mississippi Power, who understood the urgent needs of those in Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike because of her own experience with Hurricane Katrina. Barton’s plan of action began with identifying Sims Elementary School in Bridge City, Texas, as being in need of financial help. She and her fellow students then formed the Auburn EMBA Class of 2010 Hurricane Relief Fund, which so far has raised $3,405 for their adopted school.

Hurricane Ike, bringing with it four and a half feet of salty flood water, reduced Sims Elementary School from a welcoming brick and mortar primary school to an unusable building filled with a thick layer of toxic sludge. At the same time, 95 percent of the 1,200 households in the surrounding community were damaged.

Sims now operates out of a collection of temporary modular units joined by decks and canopies. The school’s teachers, who lost tools, technologies, curriculums and personal effects, are starting from scratch to help their students, from kindergarten through fifth grade, continue their educations.

Barton and her classmates face a unique challenge in working together as a group. Although they are classmates who all began the EMBA program in the fall of 2008, they attend class through a mix of distance learning and campus residencies while living in 20 states from coast to coast including California, Texas, New York and Washington, D.C.

The efforts of the 57 students involved in the Auburn EMBA Class of 2010 Hurricane Relief Fund, who are in professional positions in companies located across the country, have inspired their companies to get involved. Some “adopted” individual children attending Sims to receive gifts during the recent holiday season while others have contributed school supplies.

Principal Kent Broussard of Sims Elementary School praised the help given by the students, saying that it allowed the school to purchase what he called “the things that make elementary school fun.” Donated money has been used mainly to buy basic classroom supplies such as cutting boards, laminators, die cuts, paper and bulletin boards.

Barton said, “This truly speaks to the character and to the ethical moral fiber that is ingrained in the students participating in Auburn’s EMBA class.”

The College of Business at Auburn University is accredited at the undergraduate and graduate levels by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the highest standard of achievement for business schools. Less than one third of U.S. business schools and only 15 percent of business schools worldwide meet the rigorous standards of AACSB International accreditation. Institutions that earn accreditation confirm their commitment to quality and continuous improvement through a rigorous and comprehensive peer review. For more information on the MBA Program, visit

Contact: Dina Kanellos (334) 844-2203, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (

4 thoughts on “Auburn University Executive MBA students adopt Texas school ravaged by Hurricane Ike

  1. Katie Gust

    This is awesome and says a lot for our EMBA program (which I graduated from in 06). I’m sure the other classes would love to give too!!!


    My sister, who lives in Birmingham, Alabama just e-mailed me the article about the 50 Auburn students who are helping Sims Elementary School in Bridge City, Texas after it was devastated by Hurricane Ike. The article was very touching to me because I have been a resident of Bridge City for 30 years and I also lost my house due to the storm surge that covered our small community. What a blessing to receive help from such caring and compassionate students. It will be years before our houses can be rebuilt but we need our schools to help keep our community intact.

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