MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Students at Vinal Tech High School, in the Criminal Justice and Protective Services Department, were recognized on Friday for their assistance during Hurricane Ian in September.

Using the school’s Emergency Operations Center, students served as the eyes and ears for medical response teams on the ground in Florida, in some of the most dangerous areas. The department head for Vinal CJPS, David Cruickshank was on the ground in one of those teams, receiving information from his students.

“A lot of the parents still don’t fully grasp what they did, they think it was a high school project and this was real. They really helped people who were in need across the country. It was amazing,” Cruickshank said. “It was incredibly inspiring and these kids did what a lot of people didn’t think high school kids could do at all. They took the lessons we gave them and they just ran without.”

“It really helped them because when they were in an unsafe area, like there were bridges falling, there were flood zones and we would find all these areas,” Junior Lindsay Agli said. “I’m very proud to say I helped the people who suffered the loss of Hurricane Ian, and everything they went through. Happy to help.”

The students plan to use what they learned assisting medical responders in their future jobs and careers. Sophomores, juniors and seniors received Individual program awards for their work, along with Federal recognition from the U-S Department of Health and Human Services