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In the Dark: The Story Behind Dougherty’s Blackout Revealed

Pooja Kini, Staff Writer

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Monday, February 9th : a day that will remain embedded in Wildcat history forever – but began as any other.

Students from every corner of the Dougherty Valley rose from bed, preparing themselves to take on another day of school. ( Sophomore Aparna Manocha, for example, awoke by performing her own rendition of Beyonce’s “Drunk In Love”. Her reason? “Singing the ‘surfboard’ line makes me feel fierce,” she says.)

Arriving at the black, wrought iron gates, they took deep breaths and proceeded through. It was just like any other day – students were conversing in the quad, finishing last minute homework, toiling away at DBQ’s in A Period AP Euro…

DECA participants could be heard from miles away, rocking matching sweatshirts and narrating their weekend experiences in Anaheim. (Congratulations to all ICDC qualifiers)

It soon came to attention that a large group had formed at the entrance of the 3000 building. It seemed to be locked – deserted and pitch black inside. As the bell rang, questions arose in a flurry of whispers. What was going on? What do we do? Some waited anxiously while others, capitalizing on the opportunity, found an free pillar and took a snooze. The familiar crackling of the morning announcements sounded, hushing the crowd. “Attention. School is cancelled.”

Almost immediately, as if a switch were pressed, all erupted into cheers. For once, we could feel like the East Coast (minus the snow). Friends embraced, some weeping simultaneously. A mob gravitated towards the exit rapidly. The mutual desire to “turn up” coursed through all (by “turn up” I mean do homework, of course), and it was by all means a fantastic day!

….The End?

No, think again! There are questions still unanswered and more to this story– that of the real superheroes – which is being revealed to the public only now.

I was lucky enough to have a chat with our very own Principal Hillman about what went down for the next 24 hours – which is as follows:

PK: What caused the power outage?

DH: The power outage was very simply caused by water entering a sealed electrical cabinet . Just like you have a circuit breaker in your house – whereas if you were to plug in a microwave and hair dryer in simultaneously it would trip the breaker- the same occurred here. However in this case, the breaker carried much more power. When the water entered it fried the electrical components inside and shut the breaker down. This broke the connection from the PG&E line through the breaker that broke to all that relied on it.

PK: How did you go about fixing the problem?

DH: First, we had an electrical subcontractor come out, along with another company who tested to see if the breaker had indeed failed. PG&E then cut the power, pulled the equipment out and tested it, recognizing that it was broken. From there we tried to find a replacement part. It was a very expensive piece of equipment we were able to find in LA. They put it on a truck at 2 PM and drove it up here. It arrived at 11 PM Monday night and we had power at about 2 AM Tuesday morning.

PK: Does this mean we’ll have additional instructional days for this year?

DH: I don’t believe so. I don’t think at this point it’s like a snow day where we’ll have to make it up. I have to check with the District Office, but as of now I doubt it. That may change.

PK: How do you guys think you’ll go about preventing such occurrences in the future?

DH: Already the cabinets have been resealed with rubber and a chemical adhesive, along with a piece of sheet metal in between them. A roof shall be built over them as well. That way water can never get back in there again.

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In the Dark: The Story Behind Dougherty’s Blackout Revealed