High school students giving back to help Henryville tornado survivors

On land torn apart by tornadoes, it's a tangible sign of rebirth.
Published: .
Updated: .

High school students are literally creating a new landscape for tornado survivors in Henryville.

The teens from Scottsburg New Tech High School partnered with Habitat for Humanity to design and implement landscaping at ten families' homes in the Clark County community.

On land torn apart by tornadoes, it's a tangible sign of rebirth.

Teenagers spent Thursday morning shoveling mulch, planting flowers and creating landscaping on new houses in Henryville.

"It's such a big deal to come out here and help the people who's lives were hurt by the tornado and it's really life-changing to come here and help," said Scottsburg New Tech sophomore Devon Stidham.

165 students, along with dozens of staff and parent volunteers from Scottsburg New Tech High School, are survivors of last year's storms themselves. But they wanted a way to give back to neighbors like Dustin and Emily Hall in nearby Henryville.

Dustin, a volunteer firefighter, rushed to save others when the tornado hit.

"We got called to the marathon, people trapped inside," Hall said.

Now others, are saving him.

"It means the world, you know, it shows that there is still hope," Hall said.

Ten families, who moved into Habitat for Humanity houses this winter, received the springtime gift from students.

But this project is more than simple gardening. It's high-tech design.

The teens used a program called Google sketch-up in geometry class to create the plans for each yard.

Through math and measurement, each sketch was designed to scale.

"We built the house on the computer and then after the house was built, we landscape all of the gardening on here," Stidham explained. "And then we're just taking it and applying it to the gardens and the exact same thing that's on here, just in real life."

It took the students only two hours to complete all ten homes.

The entire project was the vision of Scottsburg New Tech junior Emily Walker.

Her goal - make each storm survivor's house, a home.

"This is so special to me," Walker said. "I think it's awesome that we could give that feeling of having a home to them again, especially after they lost so much before."