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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – This week marks one year since the deadly tornado outbreak across Middle Tennessee, Monday many of the hardest hit areas are still rebuilding.

With the mantra “DCA Strong,” Donelson Christian Academy has their mind set on coming back bigger and better than ever. 

“To be reminded when you look at the devastation on some of those pictures it was like woah and it made you take a pause and a step back because it was really a significant hit,” Headmaster Keith Singer told News 2.

From the outside in.

“If you’d been here last year when the tornado hit you could literally look outside, it was totally exposed to the wind and to the elements. Wind was coming in the morning of the tornado, it had ripped out this exterior wall,” Dr. Singer explained. 

The EF-3 ripped through the school walls of DCA. blowing away much of the second floor of the high school, destroying the elementary school wing and throwing school portables down the street into the community.

“It was heartbreaking you know honestly, because so many pieces that so many people had worked hard at over the years to build a great facility were just torn away in a matter of seconds right,” said Singer.

In a community of believers, however that heartache turned to action.

“That was amazing thousands of hours, thousands of volunteer hours here on our campus.”

“DCA Strong” hangs on the front of the school, while the history won’t be washed away. Today a part of the old gymnasium floor hangs on the wall in the newly finished gym.

“That reminds us of the tornado that was here, but also God’s goodness in the sense of look what’s here now,” he said.

New classrooms, a designated performance space and a new wing providing a place for the elementary students, moving the children out of portables for the fist time in the schools 50-year history.

“It’s ultimately God using his people to help in different ways and that’s been the main, to me,  the main takeaway from all of this is he’s moved his people to come on campus, to volunteer, to give monetarily, to get this rebuild done and ultimately our facility is going to be better for it and it’s going to allow us to serve our students better because of it. To see where we’ve come from in one year is incredible.”

Singer says the best is yet to come. While middle and high school students have returned to the classrooms, others are still using facilities within the Donelson community. They hope to have the new wing complete and open by January 2022. The rebuild is part of a $4.5 million dollar campaign. Dr. Singer says they have raised $3.9 million of the goal. 

See how hope has overcome heartbreak across the area. News 2 brings you special reports Tennessee Stronger: A Year of Recovery all day Wednesday in every newscast and on WKRN.com.

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