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2 years after tornado destroyed school, students look forward to new North Central High School School

Two years after the tornado, students and staff look forward to moving in to the new and improved North Central High School next year.

KERSHAW COUNTY, S.C. — Tuesday marked two years since an EF-2 tornado with estimated winds of 130 miles per hour destroyed North Central High School in Kershaw County. The tornado touched down on the school, stadium, and buses located at the building. 

Student Claire Branham reflects on seeing the devastation at North Central High School, where she attended school as a freshman. Her father, principal David Branham, received the call about the tornado damage Saturday, January 11th, 2020. Now as a junior, Branham hopes to see her school completed before she graduates.

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Branham explained emotions were high and the fear of being separated from her other classmates was one of the student body's biggest fear, but the school district was quick to find a temporary building for classes. 

Junior Madison Egbon reflected on her freshman year of being moved from their destroyed school to a different building. "It felt really different, to just be transported to a whole new environment," Egbon said. "We felt like we lost our pride."

Two months after being moved to this new building, another hit to their morale came. The pandemic forced them to leave all of their friends behind after already being moved once. Now, they had to adjust to a virtual setting, as well. "It's emotionally draining to be alone with my school work and trying to keep up with it," Branham said.

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Students returned to the temporary school on September 8, 2020. Now, two years after the tornado, they have a clearer vision of when they will move back in. 

"Our plan is to move in mid-year of next school year, maybe December or January," North Central High School principal David Branham said. "Construction goes on six days a week at the site, and Billy Smith, chief operator for the district said some items have been hard to find, which has held them up a little."

The building will be different. "It will be brighter, shinier, and more modern," Branham said. "There will be bigger classrooms for students."

Egbon said the school deserves this, and it's like a whole new beginning. 

"The sign behind me keeps saying, The Knights will return to the castle. When they do it will be triumphant," Smith said.

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