Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chanci McGowen: It's horrible, it's just devastating to see the destruction of my school, my home

Chanci McGowen, one of the first group of eighth graders at East Middle School during the 2009-2010 school year, lost her home and her high school in the tornado. She is featured in the latest CNN Student News interview.

Also interviewed is former South Middle School student Katie Wood, who graduated from JHS May 22 hours before the tornado hit.

The Joplin portion of the video starts about halfway through it.

The transcript of the Joplin part of the accompanying video is printed below:

Tornado Recovery

AZUZ: Recovery efforts are getting started in Joplin, Missouri, and help is coming from some unexpected places. For example, a group of homeless volunteers from Kentucky. They collected donations for the tornado victims and then drove to Joplin to distribute them. Another unique source of help: an elephant from a circus that was supposed to perform in the area. The show, of course, couldn't happen. But the animal was able to use its strength to help workers clear heavy debris from some areas. Many residents of Joplin are still coming to grips with the devastation that hit their hometown. Morgan Schutters of affiliate KODE reports on the tornado's impact on the Joplin High School community.


MORGAN SCHUTTERS, KODE REPORTER: Katie Wood graduated from Joplin High School just an hour before the tornado hit.

KATIE WOOD, JOPLIN HIGH SCHOOL ALUMNI: Even looking at it, it's still really hard to believe it.

SCHUTTERS: Now, she's singing the national anthem at a memorial service for her classmates and the community.

WOOD: It's so hard singing it right in front of my school that just blew away.

SCHUTTERS: But Joplin High School sophomore Chanci McGowen still has the rest of her high school career ahead of her, as she looks at what is left in shambles.

CHANCI MCGOWEN, JOPLIN HIGH SCHOOL SOPHOMORE: It's indescribable. It's horrible, just devastating to see all the destruction of my school, my home.

SCHUTTERS: McGowen is one of many students who lost both.

MCGOWEN: It was heartbreaking. My whole neighborhood is gone, but everyone's OK.

SCHUTTERS: It was a somber afternoon as they gathered outside the school. A moment of silence honoring military and tornado victims. Eight people in the Joplin R-8 School District are confirmed dead: seven students and one staff member.

WOOD: Wondering who is still alive and who's not.

SCHUTTERS: Superintendent Dr. CJ Huff said last Friday, when he got word, his world stopped. Sorrow for the lost and relief for the living.

CJ HUFF, SUPERINTENDENT, JOPLIN R-8 SCHOOL DISTRICT: As a result of your diligence and unwavering fortitude in the face of insurmountable challenges, 100 percent of our family are accounted for.

SCHUTTERS: Summer classes will begin as scheduled in less than three weeks, on June 13th.

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