Road to Recovery

New High School Welcomes Falcons Home

By Nicole Agee, Anchor/Reporter

Principal Dave Meyer tells students to remove their hats as he sends them on to their classrooms the first day of school in the new Aplington-Parkersburg High School in Parkersburg, Iowa, Monday, Aug. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/ The Waterloo Courier, Brandon Pollock)

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By Nicole Agee

PARKERSBURG - A brand new high school welcomed students back to class in Aplington-Parkersburg. The $19 million facility features two gyms, a commons area, an auditorium and room to grow. For students and staff at A-P, today was more than a celebration over the new school. It was about coming home.

Fifteen months ago, the high school was in shambles after an EF-5 tornado tore through Parkersburg. Students were moved to the middle school Aplington as construction crews worked on a new high school.

AP students are thrilled to be in a new school they say they didn't expect to be this big. This year's senior class is especially grateful to know they're back home for their last year. "It's pretty cool having a new school. It's huge, so it's exciting," says senior Stanley Tuve.

"I was surprised at how big it was and how nice it looked. I didn't think it was going to be that big inside," says senior Andy Eggers.

"After the tornado, we didn't know what would happen. Then honestly, seeing this school, it's so unbelievable," adds senior Emma Petersen.

More than 100 students helped the school move in and prepare for this Now that school is in session, they're as proud as ever to be a Falcon. "Seeing this school is like an encouragement for the rest of town to keep going. I mean we're getting there. It's unbelievable to see our town where it's at right now," says Petersen.

"I don't know. It just seems like it's getting closer to being normal again," says Tuve.

While the new high school has a lot of features that weren't in the old school, the one thing that hasn't changed is the spirit of this school and what it stands for in this community. "For me as superintendent, I haven't been this excited for the first day of school since kindergarten," says Superintendent Jon Thompson.

Students wearing their black and red signed a thank you banner for the people who built their new home.

Aaron Thomas, took over as Athletic Director at A-P this year for his father, Ed Thomas. He says his dad would love the new school. "I know he'd be very proud of the building. As nice as it is and with the size and everything done in a first class manner. I know he'd be really proud," he said.

Construction crews will stay at the school to finish up a few projects including the school's two gyms, auditorium and 24-hour exercise room. Students and staff are looking forward to the first football game of the year, which is this Friday night. While it will be an emotional time following the passing of Coach Ed Thomas, they say they're ready to take the field.

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