Petal superintendent praises teachers, staff, students on smooth transition

Petal superintendent praises teachers, staff, students on smooth transition

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - Less than three days after a tornado ripped through Petal, students are headed back to class.

Petal School District Superintendent Matt Dillon said despite severe damage to Petal Upper Elementary, classes went off without a hitch, and nearly 100 percent of the students were in school Tuesday.

"Everything's going extremely smooth," Dillon said. "I can't say enough about our faculty and staff, our student (and) just the way they responded."

Lori Johnson, sixth grade teacher, said, "They came in and we told them 'This is a school day, and we're going to work.' They shook their heads and were like 'yes, we're ready.' So we've had a great day. They've been calm, and really done a wonderful job today."

Dillon said the fifth and sixth grade students, now heading to classes inside of Petal Harvey Baptist Church, were in good spirits and even used their experiences over the weekend to learn a new word.

"The word of the day is resilience, and we're showing that today," Dillon said.

He said this transition would not have been possible without the church donating their facilities and the community coming together so quickly to help the district get back on their feet.

"Everyone is just rising up and helping us, and that's what we call the Petal way," Dillon said.

School officials said repairs to the Upper Elementary could take two weeks to a month.

Dillon said the district is already on the fast track with insurance adjusters to get things moving.