YADKIN COUNTY, N.C. – Courtney Elementary School has come a long way since a tornado ripped open the gym and parts of the school earlier this week.
More than 100 people showed up Saturday morning to clean up the damage.
"It's something that never happens in Courtney. I mean, all we have is a school, and the school, the gym is destroyed," said Richard Norris, who has kids that go to school there.
Just days later, the school looks transformed. The community is the driving force behind the cleanup.
"I was crying and everything, because this is my school, and I love my school, and I want to try to help as much as I can," said Klaire Norris, a third-grade student.
The school's principal had to turn people away throughout the week, until it was safe for volunteers to clean up the campus.
"As soon as I opened the flood gates, everybody poured in," Principal Jed Cockrell said.
Volunteer firefighters, church groups, students, teachers, parents and strangers all spend their Saturday mornings sweeping, trimming, and getting Courtney School ready to finish the year on a high note.
"This is definitely the silver lining, is getting to see how much the community cares about the school," Cockrell said.
The tornado interrupted the last few days of school, but because of all the progress made on Saturday, students and teachers can likely start summer break next week.
"We thought that we had a little community, but just looking around we have a bigger community than we think we do," Klaire said.
The school hopes to have students back in class this Tuesday.