Monday, June 27, 2011

JEMS gives final performance in East Middle School Auditorium

The two songs performed by the JEMS Show Choir in the accompanying video, "Lipstick on Your Collar," and "Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair," were the last two ever performed in the East Middle School Auditorium, which was destroyed in the May 22 tornado. The show choir is under the direction of Ms. Julie Yonkers.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The final band concert in the EMS Auditorium

School year ends differently for East students

The last goodbye: East students meet at 4th Street Bowl

Deprived of the last two weeks of school by the tornado that ripped through Joplin May 22, East Middle School students picked up their belongings and said goodbye to each other Thursday, June 9.

Seventh and eighth graders met at the 4th Street Bowl, while sixth graders met at the bowling alley on Rangeline.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

East Middle School cheerleaders excel at camp

East Middle School cheerleaders excelled at the Universal Cheerleader Association (UCA) summer camp this week.

The seventh and eighth graders won the Camp Champ trophy for dance and won blue ribbons each day. They also won the spirit stick each day and captured a superior trophy for overall excellence.

Five East cheerleaders, eighth graders Abi Killinger, Maggie Baker, Logan Whitehead, and Annie Strickling and seventh grader Amy Walser were selected All American Cheerleaders.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The life of Zach Williams, killed in tornado, will be celebrated Sunday on his 13th birthday

A celebration of East Middle School seventh grader Zach Williams' life will be held 2 p.m. Sunday, June 19, with services at Rocketdyne Church of Christ, 1111 Rocketdyne Road, Neosho.

The service will be held on the day that Zach, who was killed in the May 22 tornado, would have turned 13.

Obituary information for Zach can be found at this link.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Operation Rising Eagle: Locations announced for Joplin schools for this fall

(From the Joplin R-8 School District)

Temporary School Locations Announced

Joplin Schools' Board of Education approved temporary facility location moves today at a special board meeting for all schools affected by the May 22 tornado. The Operation Rising Eagle facilities plan will be effective immediately with the leasing of facilities, remodeling and necessary preparations to begin the 2011-12 school year on August 17, 69 days from now.

As previously announced, incoming 9th and 10th grade students will attend Memorial Education Center. Memorial Education Center was built in 1896 and has been used continuously since then as a school. In 2009, Memorial Education Center underwent a renovation to upgrade the existing building. Memorial is currently a home for district programs and support services.

Shopko Campus at Northpark Mall will transform into the upper high school location for incoming 11th and 12th grade students.

Franklin Technology Center students will begin the school year at the 4th and Grand Campus.

East Middle School students (incoming grades 6th to 8th) will begin the school year at the Crossroads Industrial Park, located at Highway FF (32nd Street) and Jasper County Road 190 (Prigmore Avenue).

Irving Elementary students (incoming kindergarten to 5th grade) will move to the Washington Campus, 1112 East Second Street.

Duquesne Elementary School students will join the students at Duenweg Elementary School for the 2011-12 school year. School administrators made this decision because the separate cafeteria and gym location will enable ease in scheduling. In addition, the Duenweg property, which includes nearly six acres, can accommodate modular classrooms if needed.

Emerson Elementary students will begin the school year at the current Duquesne Campus, 1301 South Duquesne Road.

Early Childhood and Pre-K students will move to the McKinley Campus, 610 South Forest Street.

The current Roi S. Wood Campus (Administration Building) located at 1717 East 15th Street will be renovated for students currently attending Beacon and the FLEX program.

Administration, Technology, Parents as Teachers and the Copy Center will move to the former Missouri Department of Transportation Campus at East 32nd Street.

All locations are current facilities that will be remodeled and ready for students to begin the 2011-12 school year on August 17.

The May 22 tornado damaged or destroyed 10 facilities and caused roughly $151 million in damage to Joplin Schools' facilities.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

EMS eighth grader's family's tornado story featured in Springfield News-Leader

The story of East Middle School eighth grader Kate Stauffer and her family rode out the May 22 tornado is featured in today's Springfield News-Leader.

Kate's older sister, Ali, is a swimmer on the Missouri State University team, so the story is featured in the newspaper's sports section:

Stauffer's mother, father and sister rode out the storm in the bathroom as the tornado ripped the house near the corner of 20th and Massachusetts apart.

"My husband said, 'Oh, my god, this is it. We're gone,' " Stauffer's mother, Nancy Challberg, said. "We were scared at this time. We just knew it would suck us up. We were saying our I-love-yous and goodbyes."

The storm passed after about two minutes, but hail started to pour through a hole in the roof over the bathtub, where Kate Stauffer, 14, was huddled under a pillow.

When father Gavin Stauffer finally emerged several minutes after the storm passed, he turned to his family and said, "It's all gone."

The roof was gone, and a layer of insulation, wood beams and shingles covered possessions.

Challberg made a quick phone call to Ali, who lives in an apartment in Springfield, to tell her they were alive and warn her about the storm. The family then walked more than a mile to a relative's house, where they have been staying ever since.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Rylee Hartwell: The first East Middle School will continue to live on


(Rylee Hartwell was an eighth grader at East Middle School during the 2010-2011 school  year.)

It was May 22, 2011, the summer fever had set in, we were ready to get out of school, or I certainly was, I was ready for high school. Things had been jam-packed that past week we were tying things up in the majority of our classes and lts just say things were starting to go hay-wire.

 When I left East Middle School little did I know this would be the last time I would see it in the state it always has been. To say East was a good and enjoyable place was an .I loved the teachers, students, and building that we had all liked together. School was enjoyable, we had numerous clubs such as Quiz Bowl, Color Guard, Journalism, Newspaper, Show Choir and quite a few others. These were all very prestigious things for a prestigious school.

 Last evening was the first time I could visually see the complete damage, that wrecked havoc on East Middle School. It was a sight of complete astonishment to me, East was gone.

Lessons of hard work, integrity have always been taught to me at home. All of these things were also taught at East Middle School throughout our days there. Even though our building may not be there, our ideas and lessons will last us all through life, and this is what makes East Middle School great not our buildings or posessions but the lessons that will make the first East Middle School continue to live on.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Humphreys family gives $250,000 to Joplin schools, issues challenge for matching grants

Add caption
(The following news release was issued by the Joplin R-8 School District)
This afternoon, Joplin Schools announced that Joplin residents David and
Debra Humphreys contributed a personal gift of $250,000 to Joplin Schools for their tornado rebuilding and recovery efforts. The announcement was made at a press conference at Joplin School’s Administration Building.

“As we work to rebuild and reunite our Joplin Schools family, days like today continue to give us hope,” said Joplin Superintendent C.J. Huff. “The damage to our school community has been devastating, but we are so grateful to the Humphreys for their generosity and commitment to joining us as we rebuild our Joplin Schools family.”

The Humphreys also issued a Matching Challenge Grant that brings with it the potential of an additional $250,000 in donations, for a total of up to $500,000 from the Humphreys. Starting today, any business, organization or individual can participate in the challenge by indicating “Matching Challenge Grant” on any donation sent to Joplin Schools Tornado Relief Fund.

“We’re doing this to support the rebuilding of the infrastructure of the school system which is vital to our community,” said David Humphreys, president and CEO of Joplin-based TAMKO Building Products, Inc.,
one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of building products. He added, “We would also like to encourageother individuals and businesses to give to Joplin Schools’ efforts to support the rebuilding of Joplin. Inaddition, this gift is made in memory of my grandfather John E. Humphreys who served for 50 years as the superintendent of schools in Ashland, Kansas and who always emphasized the importance of a good education.”

“The future of our community depends on the education of our children,” said Debra Humphreys, who also serves as the Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School board chair. “We want to support efforts that will rebuild our community and enable its future growth and success.”

Joplin Schools Board President Ashley Micklethwaite recognized the Humphreys for their support of the Joplin community that has spanned many years. “On behalf of Joplin School and the Board of Education thank you so much for this contribution and initiating this challenge to help rebuild our schools,” said

Any business, organization or individual can participate in the challenge by indicating “Matching Challenge Grant” on any donation sent to:

Joplin Schools Tornado Relief Fund
Joplin Schools, Attn Kim Vann
102 N. Gray Ave. / Joplin, MO 64801

Press Conference Remarks from Superintendent C. J. Huff
Thank you for coming out this afternoon. As we work to rebuild and reunite our Joplin schools family, it’s days like today that continue to give us hope. The damage to our school community has been devastating …yet we work to overcome. Our administration building, the nerve center of our school district, sits inoperable behind me … Yet we continue to operate, albeit from an emergency operations center at North Middle School. Our lives were turned completely upside down 11 days ago … yet we will start summer school in just 11 days, on June 13.

Over the past year, many people have heard me speak about the needs of our students. One year ago, our Joplin Schools Family had students who had never slept on a mattress. Some of our students did not have meals between lunch on Friday and breakfast on Monday … Others had no shoes to wear to school. Our
needs were significant then. They are monumental now. Roughly half of our students were in the path of an EF5 tornado.

We have a commitment to start school on August 17. However, our commitment isn’t just that our students start school. We aim to see that they finish school as well. As we rebuild our schools, we need to be mindful of the fact that schools aren’t just facilities … that we can’t rebuild just for our students … we must rebuild for our graduates.

It is now my privilege to introduce a family who have made their commitment to helping rebuild and reunite our Joplin school family … a family who’s actions continue to bring hope to our school community …

Please help me welcome David and Debra Humphreys.

Press Conference Remarks from Board President Ashley MicklethwaiteThank you David, and thank you to the Humphreys family. Your support of the Joplin community has spanned many years. On behalf of Joplin School and the Board of Education thank you so much for this contribution and initiating this challenge to help rebuild our schools. We too honor your grandfather in
accepting this gift for the benefit of the Joplin Community.

Rebuilt East Middle School will have FEMA-approved tornado shelter

KSN/KODE is reporting that the rebuilt East Middle SChool and other schools in the Joplin R-8 School District will have FEMA-approved tornado shelters:

In addition, East Middle School is already being re-built. Construction is set to be complete by August. Dr. Huff wants to build a FEMA approved shelter on every site of the school district.

Huff also met with the superintendent of Kiowa County Schools in Greensburg, Kansas today. In 2007, an EF5 tornado destroyed 95% of their town. Superintendent Darin Headrick gave some insight and advice to school officials. "I was really impressed with the board and the administration team. They're asking the right questions. They are understanding what the issues are and what they're going to be. All they can do is identify what every kid at every grade level is going to need and how they can best meet those needs come August."

Duquesne teacher tells tornado story

Annie Yost, a second grade teacher from Duquesne Elementary, tells her story of surviving the Joplin tornado in the accompanying video: