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Published August 25, 2010, 09:03 AM

New set of challenges for Wadena students

For students in Wadena, the start of the school year is going to be anything but normal. That tornado destroyed the high school, forcing the school district to make some big changes. The high school in Wadena sits empty, and broken. After the tornado hit the town, plans started right away to prepare for the school year.

Wadena, Minn. (WDAY TV) - The city of Wadena is well into its cleanup process with many homes already demolished. Mayor Wayne Wolden says more than 60 homes have been demolished and 1-million cubic yards of debris have been removed from the city. A tornado touched down in and around Wadena in June.

City leaders are in full swing working with FEMA and insurance agents trying to replace homes and businesses. They hope to have re-imbursements as soon as possible.

“There was so much progress made and even in a few weeks time that just overwhelmed me, and I was so impressed with people just rolling up their sleeves and just grabbing their bootstraps and going at it. They were helping their neighbor, just helping their neighbor.”

Wadena have asked its people to clean up tornado damage from their yards by early September, and you are asked to contact the city if you need any help.

For students in Wadena, the start of the school year is going to be anything but normal. That tornado destroyed the high school, forcing the school district to make some big changes.

The high school in Wadena sits empty, and broken. After the tornado hit the town, plans started right away to prepare for the school year.

Tyler Church: "It kind of hit me at that moment that wow, this is serious."

It is estimated the district lost $5 million dollars worth of text books, band instruments, and sports equipment.

“We've been signing purchase orders left and right."

10th grader Joey Pate is among the high school students using all new supplies, but at a different school.

Joey Pate: "It’s going to be different, but I think it will make our class stronger."

9-12th will be at M-State and the Elementary. 7-8th grade students will be bussed to nearby Deer Creek for school.

Joey Pate: "It will be a challenge, but I’m excited for it"

Pre-School and head start programs will be at St. Ann's Catholic school and K-6th will stay at the Elementary.

Tyler Church: "Oh definitely big changes. We have concerns obviously but, there are a lot of little things that still need to be done, but the year will be based on how the kids come in and what kind of attitude they have."

It’s a new school year with new challenges ahead, but the optimism of the students and teachers is what they hope will make it great. The district says it hopes the move will only be for two years and are currently working on plans to build a new high school.

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