Three months ago, students and teachers in Moore, Oklahoma, should have had summer on their minds. They should have been looking forward to a long break, a hard-earned vacation.
Instead, they were staring at the wreckage of their town, torn apart by a mile-wide EF5 tornado.
The May 20 disaster took the lives of more than 20 people, including seven students at a local middle school. Though the damage and loss of lives is far from forgotten, teachers and students in Moore finally have something to look forward to: A new school year, and a new start.
According to HLN affiliate KOCO, Moore school district teachers and administrators attended a special ceremony to honor the new year.
“We are going to come out stronger and better,” said Robert Romines, Moore School District superintendent, according to the station.
Leaders from the district spent the summer making sure the students and teacher would be able to return to class on time, and local organizations raised thousands of dollars that will be put toward classroom resources. For teachers, there was a glimmer of excitement that shone through the obviously solemn occasion.
"I’ve been looking forward to getting back and seeing all the kids. Seeing their smiling faces,” said Wilma Bunting, a teacher at Broadway Elementary, the station reports.
However, there will be faces that will be missed, a reality that is all too present for a community still healing from their losses. "We've got families this year who will be sending their kids to school this year and some who won't. That part is hard," Romines told the station.