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A flood, then a pandemic: One of the most resilient graduating classes

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CLENDENIN, WV (WOWK) – A flood, and four years later, a pandemic. It’s safe to say the 2020 graduating class of Herbert Hoover High had an unusual high school experience.

“It’s just hard you know,” says Tatum Young, one of the graduates. “Our class has been through a lot. It’s just heartbreaking.”

Four years ago, the 2016 flood washed away the high school. Moving students to portable buildings, and forcing a tough rebuild.

Fast forward to today; and those same students are displaced again. Only this time, it’s because of a pandemic.

“I’m still trying to get to the emotion, I haven’t truly accepted that it’s happening,” says Hannah Collins, another graduate.

“I’m supposed to walk across that stage today and get my diploma,” Young added. “I just can’t believe it’s not happening. It’s hard.”

Both Collins and Young never really saw a normal year of high school.

“I almost enjoy it in a way,” Collins says. “The disappointments and the upside downs, they don’t surprise me anymore. I’m kind of used to them. I enjoy having that resilience and success that comes with overcoming them. So I’ve kind of enjoyed my high school years despite the craziness.”

Plus, it helps to have a community like this one; who lifts you up no matter what.

“We went through the flood, we went through all of this stuff,” Young says. “And now the virus. And knowing there are people who are always there for us? It’s so helpful knowing that.”

A new school is being built right now, to replace the one that flooded, and is expected to open in the fall of 2022. As of right now, there are no solid plans for school this fall.

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