BAXTER, Tenn. (WKRN) – More than 30 students at Upperman High School were affected by the last year’s tornado outbreak. Some have faced significant damage to property, while others lost everything including their childhood homes.
In the year since, the school has been offering counseling and other resources to help them cope with loss.
“It honestly went by a lot faster for me,” said Aubree Owen, a senior. The cheerleader woke up that night thinking her room was damaged, but she ended up losing her entire childhood home.
Rexton Davis, also known as Rex, said he was in shock. “It was really just like, did this actually happen? Everything is gone there is gravel now where the house was set up and all there was flashes of my childhood.”
Rex, a senior on the basketball team, spoke with News 2 last year only two days after the tornado. He was injured and had several cuts on his face after his home came crumbling on top of him. He and his mother have now moved and live in a new home a few minutes away from school.
Senior Torie Brooks was sleeping at her friends house across the street when the tornado hit. “The whole roof came off and all of the windows were busted,” Brooks said. “I don’t like going back over there.” She and her family are now building a new home, anxious for a fresh start.
Freshman Caden Shanks was in middle school at the time and faced another challenge after his home was damaged in the tornado: starting a new school in the middle of a pandemic.
“It’s kind of a blur honestly,” Shanks said. “It’s been a while, so I can’t really remember all of it.”
All of the students have leaned on one another and supported each other during extracurricular activities over the last twelve months.
“Just talking in general and keeping up with each other asking ‘how’s your house coming along?’ That’s the easiest way for us,” Owen reflected.
See how hope has overcome heartbreak across the area. News 2 brings you special reports Tennessee Stronger: A Year of Recovery all day Wednesday in every newscast and on WKRN.com.