Jennifer Ortega

About Jennifer Ortega

Reporter and Fill-in Anchor on the weekends. Jennifer Ortega joins our team all the way from South Florida. She's worked for CBS 12 and Hola Tv in West Palm Beach. Although she's a long way from home, she's excited to be a part of the WCBI News Team.

Video: 5th Year Anniversary of Caledonia Tornado

CALEDONIA, Miss. (WCBI) -The month of January is not usually an active one for tornadoes  One town’s high school found out different and now share their progress five years later.

“It was like classic, what you would hear a train wreck going through and I said oh God this is the real thing and all of a sudden I got really really scared because I was thinking just what if I was over in the other building,” said Health Science teacher Ann White.

That was just after 1 pm five years ago. What was a routine January day in Caledonia was ripped apart in just seconds when the F-3 twister tore through town and the Caledonia high campus. The most visible image left in the storms wake, a school bus perched on top the the vocational building.

You probably remember the bus on top of the building five years ago when a tornado hit Caledonia High School. Now a new building stands after the devastation.

“I was horrified, absolutely horrified to see that bus of top of that building and to think that could have been me or some of the students,” adds Mrs. White.

English Teacher Sandra Wilkerson took her students away from the windows and told them to duck under their desk. She tell us how terrifying it was when she finally saw the damage.

“When they moved us from the room, the building because of a gas leak to the gym and I looked to the left and saw the destruction that when it just, it was overwhelming,” said English Teacher Sandra Wilkerson.

Principal Randy Barentt was assistant principal at the time and says he remembers that day, those hours like it was yesterday.

“On edge, uneasy, constant communication between student and staff. If it’s been 50 yards further north, it would have been through this building and not just those,” said Principal Randy Barnett.

And now five years later and a new hall added to the main building; faculty and staff are making sure their students take severe weather drills more seriously.

“Certainly the cooperation we had that day from our staff and our students, the way they responded without question made it the success that it was,” adds Principal Barnett.

The baseball field and football field were also rebuilt after the tornado.