Hopkins Co. school makes changes after Dec. 10 tornado

Hopkins Co. school makes changes after Dec. 10 tornado
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 6:23 PM CST
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HOPKINS CO., Ky. (WFIE) - Trauma and uneasiness came in the days that followed the December 10 tornado.

Southside Elementary in Nortonville became a hub to help those going through their worst moments.

Principal Erika Stark and the staff at Southside worked to help provide a backbone for the community.

“There was no power. There was no electricity. So we knew our families would need food, and we thought we could feed them,” said Stark.

But even though Southside is some 16 miles away from the heart of the destruction, they were not exempt from the impacts of that monster storm.

“One of our students lost grandparents. Some of our students have lost everything. Those students, of course, have trauma,” said Stark.

Trauma manifests itself in ways adults can’t even put into words, let alone a small child who goes to elementary school.

School Counselor Toni Martin says trauma still lives among the halls of Southside.

Of course, they saw anxiety within their students in the moments directly after the tornado.

That’s why Martin says they’ve made some changes. One of the biggest changes is with tornado drills.

They now schedule their drills away from when severe weather is forecasted, and reassure students that it’s just a drill.

“Just informing them is one of the biggest things and doing everything in our power to make them feel safe,” said Martin.

They also have told their staff to pay attention to signs of anxiety. Martin says it’s a team approach with staff and family members to help their students if they need it.

The principal says open and honest communication with their Southside family is going to be key as they approach the one-year mark of December 10.