The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

August 16, 2013

New school year awaits kids who survived twister

— MOORE, Okla. (AP) — Nearly three months after a twister blasted through this Oklahoma City suburb and destroyed two elementary schools, officials and many families hope Friday's start of a new school year will help students put the memory of the deadly tornado behind them.

Though many families are ready to return to a familiar routine, parents and teachers say the town's children have fears that are still fresh and a lot more healing to do.

Seven students at the Plaza Towers Elementary School were among the 24 people killed by the EF-5 twister that wrecked scores of homes and businesses along a 17-mile path through the heart of Moore on May 20. Students at Plaza Towers and nearby Briarwood Elementary, which also was destroyed, will attend classes in temporary buildings at least for this school year.

"I'm a little nervous about the beginning of school because I want the kids so badly to feel good and comfortable at school," said Plaza Towers Principal Amy Simpson, who took cover from the storm in a 4-by-5-foot bathroom with her office staff and emerged to find a mangled car on a co-worker's desk.

Since the storm, different students have found different ways to cope with their memories of the mayhem. Haley Delgado, 8, carries headphones to block out the noise of the wind and her brother, Xavier, 10, says he is scared by loud thunder.

Ruby Macias, 9, who was trapped under the same wall that crushed her classmates, remembers the screaming and the crying.

"She says she dreams about her friend," said Ruby's mother, Veronica Macias. "I don't know what to tell her."

The site where the Plaza Towers school once stood, in the heart of a neighborhood decimated by the tornado, has become a makeshift memorial for the dead and a meeting spot for volunteers, even though there is just a slab where the school used to be.

Text Only
State and Nation
Photos


Poll

Do you believe America will ever make another manned flight to the moon or another planet?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee