Louisa County H.S. community reflects five years after devastating earthquake


LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Tuesday marks the five-year anniversary since a 5.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Louisa County and the rest of the eastern seaboard. It also destroyed Louisa County High School, an elementary school and several homes, forcing people to rebuild and start over.

8News Reporter Candice Cole spoke with Louisa County superintendent Doug Straley about that day, and how the school and the community have been moving forward since.

“Our staff, our students, our community as a whole really came together and made things happen,” Straley said. “It was a sad moment when we first found out that the school was going to have to be torn down, without a doubt. As a proud 1990 graduate, it’s hard to see your high school have to come to the ground.”

Susan Barnes has been a teacher with Louisa County High School for 20 years and remembers that day in 2011 vividly.

“My classroom, where it was, was close to the railroad tracks, so sometimes the windows would shake, but this was a little different,” she recalled. “A student stood up and started screaming asking, ‘what was that?’ and we noticed the ceiling tiles were coming down and that it wasn’t a train. And it just seemed to last forever.”

“It eventually stopped, but we were all panicked because we didn’t know what to do. We had never experienced it before.”

Taylor Robinson, now a senior at Louisa County High, was in middle school when the quake hit. She and began her high school years without a school at all, rather in modular trailers, which would be the norm for the following three and a half years. She chose to make the best of the situation and says she didn’t mind at all.

“When it was nice outside, it was nice to go between classes and get fresh air, but when it was cold and rainy, that’s when it sucked a little bit, but I enjoyed it for the most part,” she explained.

The new Louisa County High School opened last year in the same location, boasting a new performance arts theatre and all the hope for a bright future.

“I’m so proud of the facility we have now and what we have to offer,” Straley added. “We are a great school division and I’m so proud of us.”Find 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to iReport8@wric.com.

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