Hackney Primary re-opens after tornado devastates campus

Hackney Primary School Principal Shirley Jolley
Hackney Primary School Principal Shirley Jolley

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Two moves in eight months and packing up in a day, it's the story of teachers at Hackney Primary.

"Of course it was devastating, but then we really had to get past all that and we knew we had to get back and get ready for the kids coming in January," said Hackney Primary Principal Shirley Jolley.

Since December's E-F3 tornado ripped through the school, demolishing the gym and ruining classrooms, teachers have moved from Hackney to Slack Elementary and now back to Hackney.

"When the tornado struck in December we packed up in a day and moved over to Slack," said Hackney Primary Teacher Lisa Page.

The first week of school was a new beginning on Lubbock Street.

"It was amazing when we walked in the new school the first time," explained Page.  "The safety of this campus is far greater than it was before the tornado and it was before construction started."

The teachers were just allowed to move back into their classrooms at the end of last month, but Jolley said they're glad to be back home.

"When you have teachers that believe in what they're doing and believe that they're doing it for kids, I mean they get in and they do what they need to do for kids," said Jolley.

The kids do know what happened at the school.

"A tornado broke my school," said one young student.

The tornado broke their school, but it has been rebuilt back into place where students can learn.

"We read a book and get a sticker," a student explained.

In a community where the tornado's path is still evident, the school is a reminder that time does heal.

"I'm thankful," said Jolley.  "I'm thankful because it didn't have to be."

It has been a long, tiring process, but they're finally home.

A million dollar renovation was almost complete when the tornado brought a million dollars in damage to the campus.

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