Teacher helps student affected by fire
A Millsboro family is getting a little help from their daughter’s former track coach.
Dontez Collins is a track coach and math teacher at Sussex Technical High School in Georgetown. He is also the district’s 2020 teacher of the year.
“I’ve always been really close to my students, as far as them being able to share things with me that are going on in their personal life,” Collins said. “A lot of students are embarrassed or afraid to open up.”
Jadaya Strand found herself talking to her coach about a fire that devastated her family.
“He’s always been there for me,” she said.
Collins could relate – he experienced a house fire last year.
“We realized she needed help,” he said. “Her family getting back into the house wasn’t happening.”
Jadaya’s mom, 39-year-old Tashyne Strand, said she suffers from multiple painful conditions, including spinal stenosis, fibromyalgia and arthritis. The medication she takes sometimes makes her sleepy, and she had taken some on March 1.
“I had food on the stove and I fell asleep,” she said.
Tashyne woke up to the sound of the smoke detector. Fortunately, her children, 18-year-old Jadaya and 20-year-old Jaquan Burton, were out.
The Millsboro Fire Company responded to the mobile home on Oak Street, off Mount Joy Road. They were able to quickly extinguish the fire but reported extensive structure damage.
“I didn’t want to go back because I didn’t want to see it,” Jadaya said. “My room was my place. My spot. Now I don’t really have that.”
When the fire happened, Tashyne was 20 years from paying off her mortgage. Even though the home is uninhabitable, she’s still paying over $700 a month. She said the insurance coverage wasn’t enough to begin rebuilding.
“I still need another $15,000 to fix the home,” Tashyne said. “Right now I have about $3,000 saved up.”
She and her son are staying with her parents. Jadaya is staying with different friends and family.
“I don’t really talk about it too much because I’m really stressed out with it. I’m just trying to do what I gotta do to get it back together,” Tashyne said.
Jadaya graduated from Sussex Tech this year and will soon be attending the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, running track and majoring in criminal justice. She plans to move into a dorm there, but that could change due to the pandemic.