Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Eighth grader Maddie Fichtner: Tornado brought me a lot closer to my mom

An Associated Press article on the return to school in Joplin featured a quote from East Middle School eighth grader Maddie Fichtner:

At East Middle School, which was relocated to a converted warehouse on the outskirts of town, students agreed that some things were unchanged: Cafeteria food still tasted terrible. Kids got lost on their way to class. And the odor of pet food from the factory across the street was gross.

Younger students, too, said they relate differently to each other — and to their parents — after surviving the disaster.

"It brought me a lot closer to my mom," said Madeline Fichtner, 13, who described riding out the storm without initially knowing whether her mother was safe.

School officials brought in additional counselors and trauma workers to help students and families who may still be struggling in the storm's aftermath.

"We can build buildings, but the emotional damage that this storm has caused is of a very significant concern and something we're going to be watching closely for months, if not years," Superintendent C.J. Huff said.

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