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MINERAL, Va. (WUSA) -- A little more than a year ago, we experienced something where we didn't know quite what to do.
The 5.8 magnitude quake was the strongest in Virginia's history. It was the largest in more than half a century in the Commonwealth.

At 10:18 on Thursday morning, students all across the area took part in a simultaneous earthquake drill to better prepare for quakes.

Students in Louisa County may take these drills a bit more seriously than those in other parts of the region. The ground shook the hardest here August of 2011.

In Mineral, back roads and town shops are commonplace, and so are earthquake drills.

Drop. Cover. Hold.

Students participated in the 'Southeast Shakeout.'

During an earthquake, kids drop to the ground, take cover and hold on until the shaking stops.

Then the students exit the building, much like a fire drill.

"I don't like getting under the desk because it hurts my head. If I stay out long I don't like it," said Owen Agee, 12. Agee may not like it but understands how important it is.

He remembers being in elementary school last year. "I didn't know what was going to happen," he said.

It brought back vivid memories and emotions, too, for School Superintendent Deborah Pettit.

"I was scared to death. We didn't know what was going on," she said. "And so it made me choke up to say, 'you know what? We know how to handle ourselves now, to keep ourselves safe during an earthquake."

All six schools in the county had damage in last year's quake. The high school and elementary school closed, forcing students to alternate going to class every other day. Despite that, the kids kept up with the curriculum and some test scores even soared.

"When a disaster hits, you dig deep and do things you dreamed you never could do," said Pettit.

The schools have come a long way in the past year. But there are lingering reminders of what happened more than a year ago. Louisa County High School is still in the demolition stage.

High Schoolers study in modular classrooms and can only watch their old school come down. Their lockers exposed where only a quarter of the building is still standing amidst the rubble.
So these folks know the drill, and some even tremor at the thought, that the next time may not just be an exercise in safety but the real deal.

At least eight million people across the globe have registered and participated in the Shakeout so far this year.

Next Thursday, Louisa County will break ground on a new elementary school. It will be built with current safety and seismic requirements which the old school didn't have since it was built in the 50's.

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