KINGSLAND, Texas (KXAN) — Two classes of fourth grade students attended the opening Friday of the newly rebuilt RM 2900 bridge in Kingsland.
The students from Packsaddle Elementary School received the invite after they published stories of their own experiences from the flood that took out the bridge on Oct. 16, 2018.
Tammy Barrack, a fourth grade teacher, made her students write down what they remembered from that terrible day when some of them finally came back to school a few days later.
“The water was out. The roads were blocked,” Barrack remembered. “We have a downtown area in Kingsland, and it was under four feet of water.”
“Anything that had been previously planned didn’t matter because I had to talk to the kids,” she added. “I had to let their hearts unload.”
Forty students turned in stories, and Barrack had them turned into hardcover books complete with illustrations from the children, too.
“This was their experience, and they’re going to get to be apart of the history. They’re being recognized for their role as children.”
Some of her students read aloud from the books Wednesday what they wrote.
“After the flood had ended, my family and me drove around Kingsland, and everything was ruined,” fourth grader Cecilia Neri wrote. “I hope this will never happen again because it scared me.”
Many of the students’ stories mentioned the fall of the old 2900 bridge, which is located down the street from their school.
“The water went over the 2900 bridge, and it collapsed,” Erika Estrada wrote. “The sad part is that people have to go a long way to get to school.”
Their classmate, Kaycii Jones, though, expressed how lucky she felt in her story.
“My house didn’t get messed up, but my yard did,” Jones wrote. “[The water] was ankle-deep, and I’m just glad I didn’t lose anything or anybody.”
Barrack said the books will preserve her students’ version of history, but it’s not one they want to see repeated anytime soon.
“They definitely don’t want to have to endure it again, but if they do — God forbid — they’re going to know what to do,” Barrack said. “They’re going to know how to get to higher ground and how to manage themselves and their families.”
The books featuring the Packsaddle students’ stories and drawings are now for sale through Student Treasures Publishing. To find out more about the books, send an email to Tammy Barrack at firstname.lastname@example.org.