HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - The new school year started Wednesday in Harlan County. Some students at Black Mountain Elementary are carrying over lessons learned last year helping tornado victims in Laurel County.
At the end of last school year, Black Mountain Elementary students left the classroom for the tornado destruction.
"We just basically wanted to help," said 8th grader A.J. Teagle.
On a Saturday in April, the members of the First Priority Christian Club went to East Bernstadt to help clean-up.
"There was some pretty bad devastation. There's some people who had their houses torn apart," said 8th grader Jadyn Hughes.
"We helped where the houses had been torn apart. We picked up debris out of the yards. We found important things to the families and tried to return them as quickly as possible," Teagle said.
"I've never seen a bunch of students so eager to help," said Donna Morris, teacher and leader of First Priority club.
Students also collected $733 for the tornado victims.
Teachers say many churches in Harlan County donated money and supplies for the students to use while cleaning up East Bernstadt.
"It was a moving experience. We did a lot of crying while we were there. We did a lot of praying while we were there. It was a good experience, wonderful experience," said teacher Janice Mahan.
Students say the lessons learned are carrying over into this new school year. They say the lessons will stick with them the rest of their lives.
"You know, you might not walk away with something, like a prize for it, but I think you do inside. You can lay down at night and say, I did something good today, and those people were so appreciative of it," said 8th grader Shyla Baker.
Students are now planning other service projects for this school year.