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WDC students 'pay it forward' for schools in Hackleburg, Ala., destroyed by tornado

Photo by Dana Pavek/WDC Schools Wadena-Deer Creek High School seniors Rachael Carlisle, left, and Molly Barrett served root beer floats during two high school lunch hours as a fundraiser for Hackleburg, Ala., schools destroyed by an EF4 tornado on April 27.

Hackleburg, Alabama may be 1,114 miles from Wadena, but the two small communities share something in common: an EF4 tornado ripped through each community and destroyed their schools.

Hackleburg, population 1,500, lost their elementary, middle and high school on April 27, 2011, when a tornado ripped through their town. Unfortunately, 29 people were killed and close to 90 percent of the town was destroyed by the twister.

After seeing the devastation the tornadoes had on the Hackleburg community, Wadena-Deer Creek High School students Rachael Carlisle and Molly Barrett wanted to make a difference in some way. The students had experienced those same emotions of losing their own high school to the tornado that hit Wadena on June 17, 2010.

"We wanted to do something for Hackleburg because it happened to us," said Carlisle.

Both Carlisle and Barrett are members of the school's National Honor Society. As seniors, they are to organize a community-service project. They decided to raise money for the Hackleburg schools. They served up root beer floats for a dollar during two lunch hours at the M-State cafeteria. They also placed a freewill offering basket at the WDC Senior Awards Recognition Banquet. Between the two fundraisers, the students raised more than $200 for the Hackleburg schools.

"Because of what [Hackleburg] is going through, there's more meaning behind it for us," said Barrett, adding. "I'm glad we could do something, since so many did so much for us."