Wednesday, August 17, 2011

CNN program examines opening of school year in Joplin

This CNN Student News video examines the first day of school in the Joplin School District and includes an interview with Joplin High School, and former South Middle School, student Yainer Oviedo. The part about Joplin comes near the end of the video:

The transcript from CNN is featured below:

Sound Check

RACHEL NEFF, JOPLIN TORNADO SURVIVOR: You could hear the home shaking. Everything busting out. We got down. He was between me; Zach was hunched over us and we were just, you know, praying, screaming and, you know, it was very loud and it all happened so fast. It seemed like forever, but it happened very fast.

Learning in a Disaster Zone

AZUZ: Those folks were talking about this massive tornado that tore through the city of Joplin, Missouri in May. It was the deadliest single tornado in the United States in more than 60 years, and it left huge parts of the city in ruins. Joplin and its residents are still recovering, but life for some is slowly returning to normal. For example, today's the first day of school for Joplin's students. But even that -- going to school -- has changed drastically since the storm. Shannon Travis was in Joplin recently. He took a look at what it's like to learn in a disaster zone.


SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They hope to be typical kids again after an unimaginable hell. Children and teenagers coping after the country's single deadliest tornado.

LYDIA MCALLISTER, SENIOR, JOPLIN HIGH SCHOOL: Every time I drive by it, it's still really sad. All the memories and all the friends that I made in these halllways.

YAINER OVIEDO, SENIOR, JOPLIN HIGH SCHOOL: Sad knowing that you won't be able to spend your last year of high school here.

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: School surveillance video shows the tornado reducing two schools to virtually nothing. In minutes, 10 school buildings were damaged or destroyed, including Joplin's only high school.

DR. C.J. HUFF, JOPLIN SCHOOLS, SUPERINTENDENT: That next morning we came to the realization we had 54 percent of our kids who had no place to go, about 4,200 out of 7,747.

TRAVIS: This new school year, high school students will split up. Ninth and 10th graders will go to an existing middle school. The upper-classmen will attend classes at this mall. Yes, it's a mall. Ninety-five thousand square feet, a cost of $5.5 million to convert an old retail store. Officials say it was the only place big enough. Rising seniors Yainer Oviedo and Lydia McAllister accompanied me to their new, 21st century school. It has open spaces, walls that move.

CHAD GREER, LEAD ARCHITECT, CGA ARCHITECTURE PLANNING DESIGN: The entire space can be opened up into one larger, collaborative space.

OVIEDO: That's really cool how they have it as a dry erase board as well.

TRAVIS: A fitness center, and a coffee shop run by the students. Every one of these kids will get laptops. But how will students focus on learning? Doctor Syed Husain is a professor at the University of Missouri. A child psychologist, he's been to over 80 disaster zones. He helps children learn, even when death and disaster surround them.

DR. SYED A. HUSAIN, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI HEALTH CARE: When that kid or person is saying, "I don't want to hear about it anymore," what is going on there? Avoidance! We are training teachers as therapists.

TRAVIS: Husain says children learning in any disaster zone can suffer declining grades, depression, flashbacks and nightmares. They will get help.

OVIEDO: I don't know how someone my age goes through something like this without having problems.

TRAVIS: And yet, this entire community wants the children to be children again.

So, this is it. This is the moment right here that a lot of these children have been waiting for. This is the freshman kickoff. A lot of these kids are right here; you'll hear them kind of rallying right now. They're excited and, basically, they want to put the memory of the storm behind them, although a lot of their personal lives may still be in turmoil. For Education Overtime, I'm Shannon Travis.

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