The events of that tragic day are still vivid for the students and their teachers. A groundbreaking ceremony took place for the new Hillcrest Elementary School.
Hillcrest Principal Hugh Williams wanted to make sure that his boys and girls would play the pivotal role in Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony. The Early Childhood Learning Center on the Boll Weevil Circle has served as Hillcrest for two years.
Sixth-Grade Teacher Joan Byrd said, “Today is exciting because it marks our future return home, and we feel like this is all moving forward again."
Gwen Black has several grandchildren who have either graduated, or are in Hillcrest.
Last year, her home behind the school was destroyed. "It's sad, and it's a great time. I went to this school, and my grandbabies all went here. I’m glad they will rebuild here."
For several of the students who were in the school at the time of the tornado, they are excited about the rebuilding, including Emily Harrelson.
"Yes it's exciting, I won't ever go here,” Harrelson said. “But say those kids who are in kindergarten will get to experience it when it's completed."
Enterprise Police Resource Officer Cindy Dunaway saw the very worst that day, but now it's a new beginning. "That day when I walked out of Enterprise High and it looked like a bomb hit it. This is a great day and a new beginning."
The actual construction of the new Hillcrest Elementary will get underway within two weeks. It's being built back at the same location on Watts Street.
The completion of the new school is slated for July, 2009.