Columbia, MS (WLOX) - It's been more than a month now since deadly twisters tore though Columbia, Mississippi on Christmas Eve, and the recovering and rebuilding efforts are still well underway. Friday morning, students from Columbia High School spent the day outside of their classrooms to take on a special project that focused solely on rebuilding their community.
Tenth grader Sarah Cook said she was excited to be spending the day cleaning up her city.
"I'm helping a cause that most people probably wouldn't get out and work because it didn't affect them," Cook said.
Cook is one of more than 300 students, teachers, and chaperones that spent the day picking up leftover debris that's still blanketing several streets in Columbia. For some, seeing the destruction from last month's wicked tornadoes reminds them of the day it all happened.
"I saw it! I saw it with my own eyes!" Eleventh grader Marques Wery said.
Wery described the scene as one of the scariest moments of his life, but he said he's thankful to be alive and able to help restore his broken community.
"Ms. B did good doing this. Helping out the community and making our school look good. Representing our school very well," Wery said.
It may not have been the field trip these students were expecting, but they're excited to be doing their part as citizens of Columbia.
"It's better that we're helping our community than going on a trip like watching a movie and playing games," Cook said.
Coach Denton believes his students see and understand the valuable lesson behind them stepping up and lending a hand.
"I think it's good for the kids, you know. This is there community and they're stepping up and taking charge and doing a great job. Our school system is set up for this day and it leads back to administration and shows how much we care about our community," Coach Denton said.
Ameri-Corp/FEMA Corp worked with Columbia High to set up this day of volunteering. That organization will be stationed in Columbia for the next month and a half to assist with any help the city needs.