Henryville Elementary students head back to class at temporary site in New Albany


by WHAS11


Posted on March 20, 2012 at 4:54 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 21 at 1:34 PM

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WHAS11) -- It's been a day filled with emotion and camera crews from around the region capturing every moment of Henryville elementary students going back to school.

"Good morning welcome back to school guys," said a volunteer who was blowing bubbles at the front entrance.

It was a welcome unlike any other for hundreds of Henryville Elementary School students who lived through the worst of Mother Nature.

"I feel kind of great that we're back in school," said one student.

"Elated actually, the kids are very excited to see their teachers. They're not understanding the new school thing but they're excited to see their friends and classmates," said mother, Jamie Braun.

A lot of cheering as students showed up by the bus load to the Family Life Center behind Graceland Baptist Church in New Albany.

As students stepped off the buses, some were anxious and others overjoyed. For many, it was the first time they've been together since an EF-4 tornado destroyed their school on March 2ND.

It's still fresh for Tracy Guernsey, the school nurse and parent, who huddled in her office with students that day.

"When we were looking out we saw twisted metal and glass. We could hear the electricity popping and our ears popped. It was scary," said

"I'm just thankful that she's alive," said her daughter.

"When I first saw my school going down there to Henryville, it looked very terrible," said kindergartner, Isaac Hendrix.

After so much devastation this was a fresh start to finish the school year with new books, supplies and classrooms.

"We had the State department working with us as far as textbooks and those coming in. We had vendors give us furniture. We had a lot of things donated that way," said Dr. Glenn Riggs, Henryville Elementary School Principal.

"I don't know if I've ever experienced the chill that went up my back when all these kids in the gym talked at the same time. It was a wonderful sound," said John Reed, West Clark Community Schools Assistant Superintendent

School leaders say that of their 700 students, some are still displaced and did not show up today.

They asked the State for a waiver on I-Step testing and all the school days they missed.

Visit our Kentuckiana Tornado section for the latest photos, stories, news and info on how you can help after Friday's storms.