SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (WHAS11) - More than 500 Henryville junior and senior high school students finally went back to class.
They received a warm welcome in Scottsburg after a tornado destroyed their school.
They were delighted at the sight of their first bus back to school - a sign things are returning to normal for students.
There were mixed emotions as they gathered at the Community Center a month to the day after a deadly tornado heavily damaged the Henryville Schools complex.
"It's exciting kind of and nerve-racking because I've never gone to a different school," senior Sara Henson said.
"A lot of people have said Hornet pride. Some people say Henryville will never be the same but it will be better," Kayla Stewart, Henryville junior, said.
A parade of buses headed to Mid-America Science Park in Scottsburg, along with a police escort.
April 2 will be a day to remember as they stepped off the bus many volunteers, teachers, staff provided plenty of hugs, smiles and signs saying welcome back.
"We're going to have clip boards and backpacks and we're going to put smiles back on faces," Troy Albert, Henryville Junior Senior High School Principal, said
The first few days will focus on allowing students to talk about their tornado survival stories. In the meantime, school leaders have not requested a state waiver for all the days they missed.
"Our goal is to keep it all on track and let everyone graduate as planned. If that's not the case then we'll ask for a waiver," said John Reed, West Clark Community Schools assistant superintendent.
The moment was about allowing the teens to be teens. Feeling hope despite the worst. Giving new meaning to Hornet pride.
"I'm happy I'm getting to see my friends," Cameron Furnish, Henryville Junior, said.
Elementary students went back to class last month at a building operated by Graceland Baptist Church in New Albany.
School leaders plan to rebuild the original Henryville schools and have the building open by the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year.