BUCHANAN CO., Va. (WJHL) — Monday, students return to Hurley High School after a fire caused damage to the school around 6 months ago.
The last four years have brought challenges for the high school, especially for this year’s seniors, who have endured a pandemic, flooding in the school and then the fire in October 2022.
“High school [for] students, in general, it’s a challenging time,” said Hurley High School principal, Pam Tester. “And with the things our kids have had to face these past couple of years, it just proves how resilient they are.”
Tester said she was not interested in waiting until next school year to re-enter the high school like some suggested.
“And I thought no,” said Tester. “Our kids, we barely had gotten the year started. It would be so unfair to our seniors not to get to graduate from their school.”
Students and staff of the high school have been sharing Hurley Elementary Middle School’s building with them since the fire.
At first, many were unsure if they were ever going to be able to re-enter the high school as students. However, after some inspections, Tester said it was determined that the building was salvageable.
“I thought there would be no more Hurley High School, like ever,” said Hurley senior Morgan Blankenship.
Seniors told News Channel 11 they were shocked that they were able to come back to the high school.
“I didn’t think we were going to get to come back at all because it looked pretty bad,” said senior Jonathan Young. “I thought for sure [the high school] was gone.”
“I thought we were going to have to miss out on everything and that we weren’t going to be able to see our school until after graduation,” said senior Kylie Hensley. “We were very shocked when we got the news that we can come back up here.”
Seniors are happy to spend their last year of high school back in their home.
“It feels good because you’re in the same surroundings as you were when you first came up here in eighth grade, coming from a rookie to a senior,” said senior Amelia Hunt. “It feels good.”
Blankenship said she sees it as the end to the chaos they’ve gone through.
“It kind of feels like this last stepping stone for us,” said Blankenship. “My class has been through so much with everything that’s gone on in our community, so to get to come back and be at our home school, to finally graduate, it honestly like a final destination for us.”
Tester said it’s now time to get working on their busy month of May, preparing for graduation, awards days and athletic events.