Student VoicesBack to student voices archive May 22, 2013
“Joplin Was Able To Rise From the Ashes”
At least 161 people are killed and hundreds more injured as a three-quarter-mile-wide tornado hits Joplin, Mo. The tornado is among the deadliest in the nation’s history, destroying nearly a third of the city and damaging about 2,000 buildings.
MaKenzie, a junior at Joplin High School, reflects on how her town was able to recover from such a traumatic event with the help of friends and neighbors.
This piece was originally published May 22, 2012
I can still distinctly remember that gnawing anxiety that spread through my chest on that dreadful night.
The week following the tornado was absolute horror. The weather was ominous, and I was terrified another storm was going to destroy the part of the town that was still standing.
But there wasn’t another tornado and life carried on.
I may not have lost my home, but the high school I spent two years growing up in had been destroyed.
I lost an acquaintance from school, but at least my friends and family were alive. I have never felt so genuinely thankful in my entire life until that night.
It’s strange that I still felt grateful even after Joplin had been ripped mercilessly apart. I had lost my town, school, people I knew—but I still had my life. I still had a roof above my head, and the lives of my friends and family tucked into safety. It was hard to stay thankful while everything was going on, of course.
I remember attending a meeting where school-board members discussed the plans for the temporary high school. We were able to secure two locations for the high school, which meant it would be split into two campuses divided by grades. I was upset I wouldn’t be able to be in the same building as my sister who was entering as a freshman, but I was extremely relieved we would have a building to use for school.
My campus was located in an old building inside the mall. The construction workers pooled their resources and heightened their strength and were able to build the temporary school in just 55 days. During those 55 days, Joplin received help from all over the country. Volunteers swarmed into town in waves, buzzing around the city and providing help wherever it was needed.
Our town wouldn’t have been able to recover if it hadn’t have been for those men and women who devoted their time to help a mangled city. Not only has our town been rebuilt, but so has our community. Never before have I witnessed such a strong sense of pride in our town and our school.
Joplin was able to rise from the ashes because of help from everyone. And I am eternally grateful to anyone who made that possible.
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of related content
Tooltip of RSS content 3
Martin Luther King Jr. Day classroom resources
Examine Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy with these lesson plans and videos. Continue readingcivil rightshistoryMarting Luther King Jr.MLK Jr. Day
Obama looks back on presidency in farewell address
Outgoing President Barack Obama talked about key accomplishments made during his presidency in his farewell address from Chicago on Tuesday. Continue readingBarack Obamaexecutive branchfarewell addressGovernment & CivicsSocial Studies
10 things to know about Inauguration Day
In the United States, presidential inauguration ceremonies are full of tradition. Learn about the significance and history of Inauguration Day. Continue readingGovernment & CivicsinaugurationPoliticsPresidencySocial StudiesUS Government
Hearing begins for Trump’s attorney general nominee
Tuesday saw the beginning of confirmation hearings for Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general. Continue readingconfirmationGovernment & CivicsJeff SessionslawPoliticsSocial Studies
Joe Biden on Donald Trump and Russia
Vice President Joe Biden criticized President-elect Donald Trump’s angry tweets in an interview with PBS NewsHour on Thursday, saying, “Grow up, Donald.” Continue readingBarack ObamaCIADonald TrumpElection 2016Government & CivicsintelligenceJoe Bidennational securityRussiaSocial Studies