Temporary schools greet survivors of Oklahoma twister
First-grade student Austin Kinder, left, poses for a photo for his teacher, Becky Evans, right, on the first day of school at Plaza Towers Elementary school in their temporary location in Central Jr. High school in Moore, Okla., Friday, Aug. 16, 2013. The Briarwood and Plaza Towers elementary schools were destroyed when an EF5 twister hit Moore on May 20, killing seven students. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Photo by AP
MOORE, Okla. — Banners, balloons, cheerleaders and therapy dogs welcomed Moore students back on Friday for their first day of school since the deadly tornado in May.
Students of Plaza Tower Elementary and Briarwood Elementary commuted to temporary schools where they will attend classes while their buildings are rebuilt. The EF-5 tornado that ripped through town on May 20 destroyed both schools and killed 25 people, including seven third-grade students at Plaza Tower. No one was seriously hurt at Briarwood.
A mix of nerves and excitement accompanied Plaza Tower students as they streamed into their remodeled wing at Central Junior High School. A large banner welcomed the students, along with balloons and five dogs from Therapy Dogs International, a New Jersey group that dispatches passive dogs to nursing homes, hospitals and disaster sites.
Amber Cain escorted her daughter, Olivia, 11, holding her tightly by an arm. “It's just hard,” she said. “I just feel for the parents whose kids can't go to school today.”
Four miles away, Briarwood Elementary students showed up to their temporary classrooms at Emmaus Baptist Church, which opened its large educational building to the students. They were greeted by thumping pop music from a parked van, Rumble the Bison, the furry mascot of the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team, and the team's cheerleaders.
Heather Fawcett said her daughter, Kylie, a fourth-grader, was eager to reunite with friends but was still asking questions, such as, “Does the school have a tornado shelter?” Fawcett and her daughter rode out the storm at the school.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.