Push to Get New Caruthersville High School Goes to Streets

March 24, 2007 - Posted at 6:12 p.m. CDT

CARUTHERSVILLE, MO-In just two weeks the city of Caruthersville will be voting on a bond that could pay for a new high school and make way for progress within the school system.

The mission started early Saturday morning.

"We would like you to vote for the new high school on April 3rd. Do you have any questions. No, I was already going to vote for it because my kids will be going to high school."

Students of Caruthersville High School walked up and down streets asking for the community's support in giving their school spirit a new home.

"The high school is so damaged. People don't even know the half of it. If they would go and tour it they would see that we really need a new one."

Across town things were firing up for an afternoon rally on the lawn of the damaged high school.

All in hopes of passing a bond that will help pay for a new school and a new generation of learning.

"When the tornado came through, where that bookshelf is, you can see where it's been boarded up; that whole wall was blown out. Everything we had on those shelves, all the literature books, all of those were on the ground," said Tiffany Pritchard.

Her classroom on the third floor was one of the hardest hit.

"To go in there and see an empty room with no books on the shelves and no desks in there, and just a shattered remnant of a place where there used to be so much life and kids learning. It gives you an empty feeling. It's an eerie feeling being back in this building," said Pritchard.

The building now hosts a school bell that stopped ringing and a loud speaker that no longer makes a sound.

As former students walk through the now shattered halls of Caruthersville High School, they say they are now filled with the memories of the good times when they were in school. They want to ensure students of the future have that same opportunity.

"Growing up, I thought when I have kids I'd send them here because my grandfather attended here, and it's just unbelievable that it may not be here," said alumnist Carolyn Oatsball.

"We need to have a school that has basketball, a gym, learning, and everything," said 11th grader Leola Hubbard.

However, more important than anything is the safety of the school.

An outer wall was pierced by an air conditioner flying through the air, just a few feet above where kids would have been taking shelter had they been in school.

"I don't think I'd go to Caruthersville High School if we didn't get a new high school because I wouldn't feel safe," said 6th grader McKenzie Garrett.

"They want a school they can feel safe in. They want a school with classrooms where they can have that camaraderie that they had before, and that kind of school spirit they had before. Even though we've made the best of it. That kind of morale and that kind of school spirit is just not possible when you are going to school in a trailer park," said Pritchard.

The vote for the bond is set for april 3rd of this year.

The plans for the new school should resemble the old high school and preserve as much of its history as possible.

Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.