Marsh Fork school staff works overtime to maintain media hq
Marsh Fork Elementary school has served as headquarters for the media throughout this week.
April 9, 2010 ·
This week, Marsh Fork Elementary, about 30 minutes from Beckley has served as the center of media activity for the world. The principal of the small rural school says workers are sharing shifts to help keep people informed.
When the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine happened Monday, media outlets from around the world found the small town of Montcoal.
Shelly Prince is the acting principal of Marsh Fork Elementary.
“I have to say I was rather taken aback when I went around that curve and saw all of the satellites and the vans,” Prince said. “It was all right here at our school that’s usually a quiet place.”
Reporters quickly connected laptops and recording devices to keep the nation informed of progress during rescue efforts. Prince says journalists have committed to reporting the latest; some staying on site for more than 36 hours, sleeping when and where they can.
“They seem to be very dedicated to the job and just very nice people,” she said. “I’ve really seen a different side of the media and how they operate in a situation like this and how appreciative they are in a situation like this.”
There has to be a county employee at the school at all times so Prince says teachers, and custodians have been sharing shifts to help keep communications going.
“We’ve called on computer technicians and different people around the county,” she said.
“It is different when you’re used to having all this technology and around here we have trouble with cell service and so forth. So it’s different to be in an area where you don’t have all the technology when you’re used to that.”
Prince is expecting challenges when classes resume next week. She says she has not heard of any students who've lost someone in their immediate family.
“I’m sure it will be hard the whole community and but this is a community that they support each other they care for each other and they’ll get through it because of the support.”
Local businesses have been bringing food and drink throughout the week.