CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – A fine arts school is back open and planning to rebuild nearly two months after a deadly tornado killed three people and destroyed parts of the eastern Tennessee community.
The rebuilding and cleanup continues after the Dec. 9 EF-3 tornado devastated the town of Clarksville, Tennessee. A twister ripped through the town, destroying homes, businesses and community staples like the Clarksville School of Fine Arts.
The school was a special place for students to immerse themselves in music, dance, theater and life skills.
Clarksville School of Fine Arts Director Gabriel Huff said he got the call the morning of the tornado and was told, "Your school is gone … it's flat, It's gone. You lost everything."
A music room once lined with guitars, where students learned to play drums and piano, was wrecked beyond recognition. Former students continue to return to the site of the damaged building to take home bricks as a token of their time there.
Even without the original walls of the fine arts campus, the school is back in session this week in a temporary space donated by a local church. Huff and his staff continue to try to give the students some regular curriculum while they search for a new permanent home for the school.
"This is going to be an opportunity for us as a school to build back even bigger and better," Huff told FOX Weather Correspondent Nicole Valdes.
Huff said they also instill in children that a deadly weather event does not have to stop their dreams.
"You can pick back up, and you can make things even better than they were," Huff said. "You don't have to give in to it and stop and quit."