|Updated: 4/17/2009 6:36 pm
||Published: 4/17/2009 4:44 pm
With devastation all around students at Mena middle school are getting back to the books. Since a tornado ravaged their building they're going to class in a former school building miles away. While students are back in class the first few days are more about easing anxiety and less about reading, writing and arithmetic.
There's nothing like immersing yourself in a great story to help forget about your troubles. But for these Mena middle school students there are still reminders of the devastating tornado that hit the city they're in a different surrounding class is now in session 12 miles away from Mena at what used to be the old Hatfield school building.
And here's why when the tornado hit Mena the middle school was right in it's path, the wind was so powerful it ripped the roof right off this classroom and the rest of the building didn't fare well either, they had to condemn it.
"The pressure from all the wind and stuff just blew all the windows out, our suspended ceilings our two wings added on to that they're completely gone it's a loss a total loss," principal Mike Hobson said.
But Hobson says having somewhere to go makes it's a little easier. Now they can focus on helping students through this very difficult time. Teachers are allowing them to share their feelings about what happened.
"You feel for their losses, you feel for their fear. I had one little boy tell me this morning, Ms. Buckley I still shake when I hear certain sounds, whenever I lay down to sleep it's hard to sleep at night," teacher Bridget Buckley said.
They believe getting back to a normal routine is therapeutic not only for students but teachers as well. "Our faculty the best therapy we could have had was these kids, when they came in you could see it in their eyes they were better," Hobson said.
Besides a little cleaning up and moving furniture they all seem to be settling in nicely which is good news because they'll be in this building for months to come.
More than 300 7th 8th graders are going to school now in Hatfield. 6th graders are attending classes at Dallas Avenue Baptist church in Mena.
The district has plans to build a new high school and once it's finished the middle school students will move into that building.