WYNNE, Ark. – Six months after a tornado destroyed Wynne High School, officials and students said they’re grateful to have a place to call home.
On Mar. 31, a tornado ripped through parts of Arkansas and one of the most affected places was Wynne. The city’s high school was destroyed forcing students and staff to move into the community college before they were able to go to their temporary campus.
Senior Donte Smith said the atmosphere has been really good at the new campus and it was exactly what he needed after the tornado hit his home.
“Honestly it was a very terrifying experience,” Smith said. “I didn’t know where I was going to sleep.”
Smith said since his family has relocated and when he stepped onto the new campus it was a relief to see his friends again.
“It was very heartwarming to see everyone involved in school,” Smith said.
Principal Dusty Meek said faith and a lot of help from the state brought the school to life. The school has around 50 pods that make up the classrooms, gymnasium and cafeteria.
“At least now there all together we feel more whole,” Meek said. “Yes, it’s spread out, yes it’s kind of outdoors but to me it’s kind of like junior college. It’s kind of nice and exciting.”
Meek said they have around 750 students and they are still offering everything they did in the previous high school.
The principal said they started building the temporary campus in July and everyone was completely moved in by September.
“Our whole motivation when we started after the tornado was to get our kids back and get them involved in their activities,” Meek said.
Civic Teacher Johnny Lemke said having a classroom inside a pod allows everyone to lean on each other.
“I remember when I finally got to see everybody I gave every kid a hug,” Lemke said.
After all of the hardships, Smith said they are remaining strong.
“We are very strong, we are going to stay strong through adversities,” Smith said.
Meek said that it might be several years before they rebuild their high school at the original site but for now, they will make what they have home of the Yellowjackets.