An emotional day for Henryville students as they return to their tornado ravaged school


by WHAS11

Posted on August 7, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 7 at 1:35 PM

HENRYVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) -- School districts across Kentuckiana are heading back to class, but it was an emotional return for one school in the West Clark district in Southern Indiana.

Tuesday was the first day of school for students at Henryville Senior, Junior and Elementary schools.

“I just like being back to my school,” sophomore Carli Pendleton said. “This is my hometown and I enjoy being back."

The students haven’t had a class at the school in five months.

“I’m excited,” Sammy Hunt, a junior at Henryville Senior High, said. “I’m ready to get back. It’s good to be home.”

It’s the first time all 1,200 students in the three schools have been back to the Henryville campus since an EF-4 tornado ripped it apart on March 2.

“We went through a lot in March,” Stephanee Beyl, a Henryville Senior High parent, said. “It’s an emotional day. As a mom, it’s emotional.”

“I was in awe and shock,” Courtney Rappe, a student at Henryville Senior High, said as she recalled what her school looked like in March. “I still don’t believe it. It didn’t look real. It didn’t look like a school.”

Construction crew took five months to rebuild the school. Engineers said a project that size would normally take 18 months to complete.

“It’s just a job well done,” Troy Albert, Henryville Senior/ Junior High principal said.

It’s an accomplishment the community is proud - 300 crew members worked around the clock to have the kids back in class for the 2012-2013 school year.

“It’s a healing time,” Beyl said. “To see your child walk through the school, you know they’re proud.”

Visit our Kentuckiana Tornado section for a look back at the devastation caused by the storms on March 2 that blew through Kentuckiana.