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My name is Vawn Gretta Stearnes, and I am blessed and fortunate to be a master student of Sacred Music at UST, under the instruction of Dr. Brady Knapp.

My family and I – my 16-year-old daughter, 15-year-old son, two-year-old daughter and mother – had to be rescued early Sunday morning from the flood waters. I remember praying Saturday night, telling the Lord, “You know where the lightning bolt goes, so please stop your rain.”

Master of Sacred Music student at the University of St. Thomas - Houston, Vawn Stearnes, stands outside her home after it was flooded during Hurricane Harvey

Early that morning at about 5:30 a.m., we realized the water was about to rush in. To make a long story short, I fed everyone, told them to pack only what they could carry and prepared to get everyone into the attic. I was about to open up the attic when I heard the rescue vehicle.

Cleanup at the home of Vawn Stearnes, University of St. Thomas - Houston music graduate student

I jumped down, ran to my room, jumped on my bed and screamed for help, but they couldn’t hear me, so I began to sing a very high note, operatically. They heard me but couldn’t see me, and I couldn’t get the screen off my window. So I found a nail clipper and was able to cut open a few spots, tear open the screen and wave my white pillowcase. Then I tied it to my window outside.

Cleanup inside the home of University of St. Thomas - Houston student Vawn Stearnes' home after Hurricane Harvey flooding

Had I known that would be my last time sleeping at home, I would have relaxed a little bit more. Anyway, the rescuers screamed that they saw us, came to us and we got to the dump truck. We stayed in a shelter and then moved to a hotel room, where we have been since.

Furniture and debris outside University of St. Thomas - Houston student Vawn Stearnes' home after Hurricane Harvey flooding

God is still good. The glory God received was when I was invited to sing at the Harris County City Council meeting for the mayor!

By Vawn Gretta Stearnes, pursuing a Master of Sacred Music

To support UST students, faculty and staff impacted by Hurricane Harvey, make a donation here.

About the Author — StThomasHouston

The University of St. Thomas is the only Catholic, liberal arts university in Houston, Texas. We have 35+ undergraduate majors including STEM, Nursing, Business, Education and Pre-Med. Located in a vibrant urban environment just minutes from downtown and the famed Texas Medical Center, we welcome students of all races and religions to our diverse and collaborative campus.

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