Twister adds misery to AL town's education

The tornado that struck here Sunday destroyed not only homes and businesses, it also wiped out the local elementary and junior high school.

BY TRAVIS DUNN | Carbon Hill, AL | November 15, 2002


The tornado that struck here Sunday destroyed not only homes and businesses, it also wiped out the local elementary and junior high school, attended by about 540 students.

The destruction of the school is a big enough blow.  It's even worse when you consider that the Carbon Hill High School burned down last June.

All that is left of educational facilities in this small rural school district is a cluster of trailers being used as temporary classrooms and the gymnasium that somehow made it through the storm unscathed. 

High school students used these trailers since September.  Now, said Principal Diana Little, everyone's going to have to share.

Classes were canceled this week, but Little said that the school will be up and running next Monday.  Elementary and junior high student will come in for a half-day in the morning, and high school students will come in at noon. 

The half-days will mean that a lot of classes will have to be cut out.

"We're just doing core curriculum stuff," Little said.

All these students will be using the same temporary classrooms until at least January when more trailers can be brought in.

The construction of a new elementary school, however, is likely to be more than a year away, she said.

Students, teachers, parents and other volunteers helped salvage copy paper, books, furniture and computers from the wrecked school Thursday.

High school freshman Nadia Kurpaq and Wesley Sandlin helped moved boxes of salvaged supplies from wrecked classrooms. "We're just helping," Kurpaq said.

Once all the undamaged items are salvaged, Little said the school will most likely have to be demolished. "I believe it's going to be considered a total loss," she said.


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