This is Carolina: St. James students fill UHaul for tornado-damaged school

Local schools give back to one damaged by tornado

CAMDEN, S.C. (WMBF) - It took three people who’ve known each other for decades to give students three days to help a fellow high school in need.

Their act of kindness shows how easy it is for all of us to do something memorable that can make a positive difference for someone else.

It started with students at St. James Middle and High schools.

“We were rival high schools, so we grew up in the same community. And we both are in middle and high schools in Myrtle Beach, so when we decided we wanted to do the supply drive we decided to include both schools versus just one,” St. James Middle School teacher Waylon Ross told WMBF News.

He and his wife, Caroline, worked with their principal to help out their friend at North Central High School, Principal David Branham. Waylon Ross said he graduated from North Central in 1996.

The Rosses grew up minutes apart in Kershaw. Waylon Ross and Branham went to North Central together.

The school was badly damaged by an EF2 tornado Jan. 11. The school is unusable and currently being sorted through and cleaned up by a construction company. The students, teachers and staff moved about 15 minutes away to a vocational school building in Camden. Branham said he thinks they’ll be there for about two years, but hopes it’s less.

RELATED STORY: Surveillance video captures moment EF-2 tornado rips through S.C. high school

North Central High School drone video still Kershaw County WIS
North Central High School drone video still Kershaw County WIS

In the meantime, communities across South Carolina have rallied to gather supplies for North Central.

The Rosses knew they had to do something. Their students filled a UHaul in three days. The couple drove it to the North Central’s temporary campus on Monday. Students there unloaded it in minutes and everyone grateful.

“I’m sure some of the students lost some of their belongings as well, so it’s not just really for the teachers as it is as well for the students. It’s just an every day usage thing that we kind of take for granted, like binders and pens and highlighters. We kind of take those for granted but those are essential materials needed for teaching and for students to use,” Caroline Ross explained.

“North Central we’re there for you. We’re going to try to give you as much support as you possibly need. Once a Knight always a Knight,” Waylon Ross said.

The Knights display with their armor was salvaged from the tornado-ravaged school and placed near the office in the temporary school to greet the students.

Copyright 2020 WMBF. All rights reserved.