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On a cold, rainy Saturday morning, 51 students of my senior class braved the weather, gave up their Thunder over Louisville weekend and lost some sleep to catch a bus to help residents of Henryville, Ind., on the National Day of Service.
As a student on the trip, I witnessed events which affirm what I always have believed — North Hardin is a school of pride and one that truly cares about its tradition of excellence.
As seniors, we really wanted to go on this trip and help those in need, but a lack of district money was going to hinder our dream as we couldn’t afford gas for buses. Searching for a solution, two of our students immediately took to a local television station and social media sites asking for support and donations from the community.
The next day we witnessed a rally of people lined up in our school from all around our community to show their support by donating money and other items so we could make a difference. I saw a community come together to support a cause and a school, proving we truly live in a great place with great people.
As we boarded the bus and left for Henryville, armed with donations collected by our AVID III students for weeks prior to the event, we all felt excited to be making a difference in the lives of people who truly needed us. As we entered the affected areas, we witnessed the path of destruction the twister left: debris all over the place, students with no place to go to school and people who had no place to live. The eyes of our students filled with sadness at the devastation they saw before them.
But, that day I also witnessed something else. We witnessed a community becoming closer, a community with the chance to rebuild and start over, a community brought together by a natural disaster and a town with a spirit that could not be broken.
After we dropped off the donations, we went to work on the clean up. It was there we witnessed the appreciation in the eyes of the community as we helped a farmer pick up debris out of his field so he could plant his crops in the spring and feed his family. Tears came to my eyes as we heard a woman’s story while cleaning up her back yard so her children could go outside to play and not fear being cut by glass or other debris left by their barn, completely destroyed by the tornado.
After we completed the work we boarded buses and headed home. It was then we witnessed the smiling faces of the community as we left, and for that I must thank Angela Cannon and Taylor Domschke for their hard work planning the event and getting us up there. Without you, all this never would have been a reality. I know it caused quite a few headaches, but I hope the money we raised, the donations we sent and all the help we gave made it worthwhile in the end.
I witnessed the pride in the senior class as we crossed the bridge back into Kentucky with mud all over us and water in our shoes, but still, we all were smiling. We had made a difference in the lives of the people there and it was a moment we are sure to never forget.
The trip brought forth two conclusions: one, North Hardin High School truly is an amazing place to send your children with a faculty and students who care about others; and two, this senior class is one of which I am proud to be a part.
Henryville taught us responsibility and helped us take a step into the real world. Seeing all the support and participation filled me with pride and I was glad to be called a Trojan and a member of the North Hardin student body.
Nate Yates is a senior at North Hardin High School.