The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

May 3, 2014

54 Clements students homeless after Monday’s twister

School officials still contacting Clements, Blue Springs students

By Kim West

— School officials said Friday there are 54 students from Clements High School made homeless by the deadly EF3 twister that roared through Limestone County on Monday.

The central office is in the process of contacting every student enrolled at Clements and Blue Springs Elementary, two county schools that are located in the tornado-stricken Coxey community.

Among the approximately 1,100 students at Clements and Blue Springs, an estimated 1 in 11 students are believed to be without homes, said Limestone Superintendent Dr. Tom Sisk.

He said 135 students from Clements had not been reached by phone Friday night, with verification of Blue Springs students also pending.

“There are 54 homeless students from Clements, and we believe that number will double once all the Clements and Blue Springs students have been reached,” Sisk said. “We are excited the national Red Cross is here, and we are looking forward to seeing what they will be able to do to help our students and their families.”

Clements baseball coach Nathan Sawyer is compiling a list of displaced students from the Coxey area, the superintendent said.

The county’s 13 campuses dismissed early Monday and classes were cancelled Tuesday and Wednesday. Eleven schools reopened Thursday but Clements and Blue Springs have remained closed due to widespread power outages in the area.

“Within 48 hours of power being restored to the schools, we’ll reopen Blue Springs and Clements,” Sisk said. “I’ve also applied for a waiver from (state Superintendent) Dr. (Tommy) Bice to excuse Blue Springs and Clements from all standardized testing for the remainder of this semester.”

City spokeswoman Holly Hollman said the number of Athens Utilities customers without power dwindled to 2,800 by Friday night, compared to 16,000 after Monday’s storms.