FRUITDALE, Ala. (WKRG) — The work to finish repairs to Fruitdale High School is far from over. The Fruitdale High School Alumni Association hope bringing in a familiar face who grew up in the area will generate more funds to make those last-minute repairs to the school.
Debris, damaged structures, and chipped roofs still remain after an EF-1 tornado swept through the small community in November of last year.
Tremendous work has been done to restore majority of the school, but some of the needed repairs weren’t covered by insurance. One particular building that still needs to be repairs is the Agricultural Building.
Windy Taylor is a part of the Fruitdale High School Alumni Association, and helped organize the event to help bring in more money for repairs and community support.
“Our students need a safe school and we need to make some improvements,” Windy Taylor said.
To help raise funds, the Fruitdale High School Alumni Association sold tickets for country duo Thompson Square to perform at the school.
Singer Shawna Thompson graduated from the school and knew she wanted to step in to help her hometown after seeing how the tornado destroyed the town she called home.
“We just wanted to lend a hand and see if we could raise some money and take care of those,” Thompson said. “And it just meant a lot to to give back because Fruitdale gave me so much.”
“It’s devastating when it when a school in a small town, you know, it doesn’t have a lot of money,” her husband and singer Kiefer Thompson explained. “[So,] doesn’t have a lot of budget. And then they don’t have a lot of population or industry. When something like this happens, you know, the resources are very lean.”
Along with raising funds, the school also turning 100 in the spring of 2024.
Fellow teacher Veronica Barnes said it’s important for the school to keep standing and be in the best shape, not only for this milestone, but because the school serves several children in Washington County.
“Our school services several communities in South Washington County,” Barnes said. “Our school is the hub of this community. And so, you know, everything revolves around what’s going on at school.”
All of the money raised from ticket sales is going directly for repairs.
Even though most of the money is from the ticket sales, for many who lined up outside Fruitdale High, their support for the school goes beyond a concert.
“I went to this school when I was young,” fellow concertgoer and alumna Holly Williams said. “And it is it’s got so many memories in this county, and I want it to remain standing because I want my kids to go here and their grandkids to go here and all that good stuff.”
“Having your community involved in anything is vital to any success; especially with the school system,” Taylor said.
So far, the Fruitdale High Alumni Association has raised at least $38,000.