WACO, Texas — Waco Independent School District took to social media saying they're saddened by the loss of the historic G.W. Carver Middle School. It's a loss being felt by many in the community, including former teachers and students.
A first look of what's left of the school is leaving many shocked, especially Benjamin Hughes who was in the school's very first class of first graders back in 1956.
"It's heartbreaking, really, because even though it was a lot of years ago for me it was still a lot of memories there and everything and not only did I go, my sisters went, and even my daughter," said Hughes who graduated from the school in 1968.
Since 1956 the historic building housed many students along the way, from first grade through twelfth grade, and more recently just sixth through eighth.
Through all the stages of life, the school helped students like Hughes.
"I can truthfully say I enjoyed my years here, I mean all 12 of them in everything," he added.
Hughes attended the school when its student population was mostly African American students.
Over the years, the school has changed, but kept the same beat and leaving the same mark for students.
"My perspective as a sixth, seventh and eighth grader going here, gave the students, the kids of Waco an opportunity to come together, all races," said Stephen Redrick who attended Carver.
Those visiting the burn site Tuesday said a fire can't burn Panther pride, it only ignites it to fight.
"It's just sad that you know Carver High School, the Carver Panthers and everything having had to suffer this tragedy but like everything else, you know, we've always suffered setbacks, but we go forward from there," said Hughes.
Former students also have hope that there is still a future for the Carver campus.
"I hope they're able to restore and just salvage whatever they can out of the school," said Redrick. "I would hate to see it demolished completely, that would be pretty tough for this community."
"I hate to see traditional Carver just go away because we had a fire, you know, but it's a building and everything, but it has a history of of educating a lot of people and being a mainstay in the community," Hughes added.
But through great loss are a lot of fond memories of G.W. Carter Middle School.
"The school is a staple in the community and it brought a lot of people together," said Redrick.
Waco ISD said all students and staff from Carver Middle School will start the next school year at Indian Spring Middle School and will be there until a new Carver campus is built.