‘It’s gutting:’ Robinson Elementary in Perry Co. severely damaged by flooding

WATCH | ‘It’s gutting:’ Robinson Elementary in Perry Co. severely damaged by flooding
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 9:35 PM EDT
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PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Traveling KY 476 in Perry County is not easy at times, especially after the creek that runs through the area turned into a rolling rampage last week.

Officers with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife have navigated the area to check on people and deliver simple items like food and water. The flooding in the Ary community spared nothing in its path—not homes, not cars, not even an elementary school.

“It’s gutting, it’s truly gutting,” said Emmanuela Thornsberry.

Thornsberry is the attendance clerk at Robinson Elementary and was devastated to see it Monday for the first time.

“Seeing the pictures of my office and being able to see those walls knocked down, me being in the very front of the building and then looking to the back and actually being able to see the gym through all those walls, it’s hard to believe,” said Thornsberry.

A look inside the school is heartbreaking for those like Thornsberry, who walks the halls each and every day. She said this school isn’t just a fixture in the community, it’s history.

“That school has been in this community since the original building was a WPA building, so there is actually a wall behind the school that is the sandstone from the original building, so it means a lot to us that it’s been in the community that long. Our grandparents went there,” said Thornsberry.

Robinson is one of two schools severely damaged in Perry County, the other being Buckhorn. The superintendent says of the two, Robinson is the worst structurally.

“Robinson Elementary actually, an exterior wall and probably 20% of the roof collapsed so that school is not going to be operational,” said Superintendent John Jett.

With the start of the school year up in the air, the attention is still focused on students and their families. People like Thornsberry are making sure people get what they need in a time they need it most.

“At least if we are based here and we are trying to provide a hot meal and some supplies, if they can’t get here we can get it to them,” said Thornsberry.

Superintendent Jett said the school will need to be rebuilt, but right now the concern is where to house students for the upcoming school year.

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