Lee High School’s EVAC Program

Kristal Alston
EVAC : Evacuating the Cave of Hopelessness


What started off as a Leadership course for ninth graders quickly turned into a sanctuary of hope for 15 Lee High School students. These guys are making history all over the Internet, the White House, and in the local community. They call themselves EVAC.

“Evac is short for evacuating the cave of hopelessness,” says sophomore Allan McCoulogh. “Mrs. Donofrio always says to dream big.”

The purpose of the class is for each student to turn their personal tragedies into a positive light for the community. They meet with officials to discuss what a typical day looks like in their shoes. They also share their personal stories of loss, loneliness, and uncertainty. More than anything, their teacher Amy Donofrio, loves doing it and will continue to support these hopeful young men.

“They had the potential in them all along”, says Donofrio. “They’re just now putting on the shoes and walking in them.”

The students, who at one point had no intention to go to college, are now making plans to pursue higher education and change the world one official at a time.

“A year and a half ago, I saw myself as a deadbeat nothing,” says McColough. “Now I see myself as someone who can change the community. I can change the world if I wanted to.”

The students have a great support system. Faculty, staff, and mentors stand behind this brotherhood. Mentor Wade Johnson has been part of the movement since its Genesis, as he calls it. He was once in the students’ shoes himself, so he can offer plenty of advice, as well.

“They just need someone to talk to them, be there for them, you know, pray for them.”

Evac won’t stop here. The class has future dreams to make a book, be on a talk show, and make it back to the White House.