Students, staff remember tornado that nearly leveled Henryville school 10 years ago

The tornado, one student said, was like “trains” coming from all directions.
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 1:59 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It’s been 10 years since tornadoes ripped through Southern Indiana, destroying Henryville Elementary and Henryville Junior/Senior High School.

The current seniors were in second grade on March 2, 2012. Many of them recall being sent home from school, though some were still there when the first tornado hit.

When the first storm hit, senior Sam Gilles was one of the few students still in the building. The tornado, he said, was like “trains” coming from all directions.

Even when they thought it was over, Gilles said, it wasn’t.

“There was a teacher leading us out,” he explained, “and that’s when he was like, ‘go back, go back, go back.’”

In stark contrast to the howling winds, the school held a moment of silence on Wednesday to allow students and staff to reflect.

Kyle Lewis, the vice principal, was also at the school when the storm hit. He said that there was a lot of preparation for potential storms.

Despite sunny skies, students were sent home early, but sunshine quickly turned to darkness, and darkness to destruction.

”I think all the parents should be grateful the decisions were made, were made,” teacher Jenny Schroeder said, “because the school wasn’t full of children.”

Kyle Lewis said he didn’t even want to consider the alternatives.

“If (students) would have been here, I hate to think that way,” he said. “I try to erase that thought, because it is sickening to think about it.”

On Saturday, there will be a remembrance ceremony. Members of the community are welcome to attend.

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