Henryville still slowly rebuilding two months after tornado

Life is still different in Henryville, two months after a tornado tore through the small Southern Indiana community.

Aishah Hasnie

5:24 PM CDT, May 1, 2012

Henryville, Ind.


Life is still different in Henryville, two months after a tornado tore through the small Southern Indiana community.

"It was pretty bad looking," said Lewis Shelton about his house as he stood in his front yard Tuesday.

"All the windows were broke and the siding and the roof," said Shelton.

Two months later, he has new windows, siding and roofers were putting the final touches on his roof.

"After you get used to living in a place and you see it all tore up, it's not good."

There are still homes standing without roofs, covered in tarp, or wrapped in plastic. Shelton said insurance issues might be slowing things down around town, but he believes a few dry summer months will speed up the progress.

“It's coming together, but slow. It just takes time."

The high school appears to be in better shape, but is still undergoing repairs. It is scheduled to reopen by the beginning of the next school year.

In the meantime, students are finishing up this year at the Mid-America office park in nearby Scottsburg, but they have had to learn to work with less. The temporary classrooms are a fourth of the size of what students are used to and there aren’t any desks. Students sit in chairs or on the floor and use their laps or other chairs to read and write on.

"We've shifted how we teach and the students have shifted how they learn," said Leah Seng, Henryville High School Science teacher.

The community is still getting support from across the state. Indianapolis-based drug maker Eli Lilly is donating $40,000 worth of lab and science equipment to the school.

Three Science teachers, including Seng, will make the trip to Lilly Wednesday morning, to choose what they want among the microscopes and hot plates.

"I think we'll be like kids in a candy store," said Seng. "What we're replacing tomorrow would take us years to replace on our science budget."

All of the equipment will be saved for the next school year.

Teacher Karen Albert said the equipment was going to allow for more than just fun science experiments. It would give students an opportunity to learn hands on.

"That is what they remember and that's how they learn," she said.

Science teacher Josh Conrad added, "Whenever tragedy takes place, it's just unbelievable just to see how far people are willing to go to help people out."