LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) — Two years ago on this day the little town of Mineral in Louisa was the talk of the nation. It stood shell shocked from an earthquake. But people there, both young and old, dusted themselves off and weren’t going to let the disaster keep them down.
Thirty seconds can disappear in a flash. It’s not a lot of time. But one particular half a minute on Aug. 23, 2011 will live on for a lifetime in Louisa.
“It was quite frightening. It was chaotic at the moment because no one knew what was going on,” says senior Kyle Anderson. “It was a shock to everybody.”
It was the fateful day when the earth moved in Mineral.
High school senior, Antonia Comfort, says, “There were cracks coming down the wall and bricks coming away from the building. It was a scary thing to see.”
The 5.8-magnitude quake centered in Mineral reduced historic buildings to rubble and was felt from the Carolinas to Canada.
What senior Hannah Hall remembers most vividly? The resiliency displayed by fellow students and teachers.
“All I remember is the building started shaking,” says Hall. “It was really shocking to me. Particularly now when we are getting a new school people still talk about it but not the same way not how much it has put us back but how far we have come.”
Superintendent Dr. Deborah Pettit helped steer the school system through days of uncertainty.
“Two years ago today at 1:51 p.m. I remember it well. We heard a rumble. The ceiling tile and lights had fallen. And I thought a bomb went off,” says Dr. Pettit. “I think that helped propel us forward. You had this intense desire to get back to normal after a disaster.”
No one on campus was severely hurt. The same could not be said for their beloved high school. The building sustained so much damage it was torn down. Students are still learning in temporary classrooms. Waiting for the day when their new school opens.
“Everyone has adapted well and doing what they need to do and we are very successful,” says Principal Tom Smith.
Long after they graduate these teens say one lesson they’ll always remember. How thirty seconds can change your life forever
“It was a scary moment,” says 17 year-old senior Antonia Comfort. “It is one of those experiences that makes you a stronger person. You can say ‘I went through that I am better and I am stronger.’”
The more than 1300 students at Louisa County high school are also getting an exercise in patience thanks to the earthquake two years removed from that historic day. Their new school will open in the fall of 2015.
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