ANDOVER, Kan. (KSNW) – A magnetic energy-filled Prairie Creek Elementary School in Andover on Thursday as students and staff returned to the building for the first day of school.

It happened just months after an EF-3 tornado ripped through town, causing a lot of damage.   

“We’re just so happy to be in our classroom and be together. So … just surreal,” said Bella White, fourth grade Prairie Creek teacher.  

Students were excited to see old friends, teachers, and just be back in a familiar building. Kids filled the halls, and laughter filled the lunchroom for the first time since April’s tornado. 

“It was a lot of hard work to make this happen and lots of hours for lots of people and to see the kids in [the] classroom already learning and working on making friends. Makes all that all [of] that hard work worthwhile,” said Shawn Springer, Prairie Creek principal.

Students are excited to be back after ending the school year across six different buildings.

“It felt kind of weird because then I couldn’t watch my brother because he does like a lot of mischievous things,” said Keith Barney, a fifth grader.

Many students are loving the new look of their school.

“It looks better, and it looks more brighter and welcoming,” said Lizzie Shultz, a fifth grader.

Many parents are thankful to have their kids return to the school they grew up in.

“I have a fifth grader there, so this is her last year in the building. She’s gone there ever since kindergarten, and starting [this year] there meant a lot to me as a parent,” said Tim Brunson, dad of two Prairie Creek students. 

White says this experience reminds them all how fortunate they are.

“School, friends, it’s a gift, and it’s precious, and having our friendships and having each other it’s just almost priceless,” White said. “We’re very lucky to have each other and to be together again.” 

Springer says starting the year all inside Prairie Creek is kicking off the momentum for a great year.