Principal recounts surviving storm in school

HENRYVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Henryville Junior/Senior High School has almost become a symbol of what that town survived Friday afternoon. They are still deciding where the students will go to class all the while counting their blessings that all the students and staff made it out safely.

You only need to look at an entire school bus thrown across a street into a building to know the power of the tornado that flattened Henryville. "The bus here was one of them that actually brought a few students back to school when the drivers determined the weather was getting too bad or they'd seen a funnel cloud," said West Clark Community Schools Superintendent Monty Schneider.

You begin to understand the miracle the students and teachers of the city's elementary, middle and high school believe they lived through when you hear the 11 students on that bus were unloaded minutes before the tornado ripped it apart. It's a realization that's already hit elementary school principal Dr. Glenn Riggs who started to get choked up when talking about how all his young students were safe.

The kids were loading on the busses when teachers got word they needed to get them home. "We could see it was moving quickly and we told them to get them out as soon as you could," said Schneider.

Turns out the destruction was only about 30 minutes away. Those who couldn't make it home in time, about 40 students and staff in the elementary building and the same number in the high school, took cover. "My office area is in the core of the building. Basically everything around us was completely demolished," explained Dr. Riggs.

After breathing a sigh of relief that they all walked out unscathed,  thoughts moved to what to do. The district will have to fit the more than 11 students in their other schools. Superintendent Schneider said it'll be at least mid-week before the kids return. When the school is only one of hundreds of buildings destroyed, he just wants his students to know,"don't worry about school right now. Worry about your home, yourselves and your family."

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