Education

Dallas Teachers Rally to Welcome Students Back to School After Storm

With all of the changes taking place and the drama from the storm, they wanted to make sure their students were okay.


After a tornado ripped through Dallas, TX last weekend, people in the area are left to deal with the aftermath of the storm.

Thomas Jefferson High School was one of the buildings that was badly damaged. Now, almost 1,900 students will be relocated 10 miles south to Thomas Edison Middle School, where they will finish out the school year.

Here's an uplifting video message from the school's principal who urges students to be tenacious and "show grit" as they make the transition to the new building:

(Source: @dallasschools )

Among those working hard to get the new facility up and running for the students are the teachers, who are essentially starting from scratch to build out their classrooms.

"It is a blank canvas in here right now for me," art teacher Laura Hanel told WFAA8-TV . "They are pounding it out right now for everybody."

A maintenance crew works to clear debris after the storms in Dallas.

The teachers have also been reaching out to students in the community to make sure they're okay with the transition. A few of them took part in a "Block Walk" where they went into communities to talk to the kids and families, some who still don't have power, about the upcoming changes.

"I really wanted them to know that we were there for them," Hanel said. "It's been a really hard couple of days, I'm sure, so we are here, I want them to know that their school is ready for them."

Hanel ran into Brenda Davila, one of her past students, when she was going door-to-door in one neighborhood. Davila was in Hanel's art class for two years.

"It makes me feel a little bit more comfortable seeing a familiar face," Davila said.

TJHS art teacher Laura Hanel (L) speaks with two students about what they can expect when they return to school this week.

Some of the teachers passed out snacks, some gave hugs and they answered questions for families about what to expect at the new school.

Enecia Larkin, a student's stepmother, said that her daughter had cried a few times since the storm caused the school to close.

"It's homecoming week. Kids are going to miss homecoming, football and band."

While it's still not safe to go inside Thomas Jefferson High School, Hanel hopes that once she's able to get back into the building she can recover some items from her classroom.

"I'm hopeful that when we are able to go back in, that I can salvage a few things for my students, mainly their work," she said. "I think that's the hardest part, just losing everything."

A Teach For America volunteer that is helping with the effort to rebuild the classrooms at Thomas Edison has started a GoFundMe campaign to help with the costs of buying all new school supplies to stock the classrooms.

You can contribute to the fundraiser by clicking here .

For information on other ways to help out schools and families that were impacted by the storms, you can click here .

(Source: images @Bryce_Newberry )

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