Schaumburg students prepare for first day back after school damaged by tornado

Jade Cunningham talked to teachers at Schaumburg Elementary about a move after it was hit by an EF-3 tornado.

NEW ORLEANS -- As residents try and move forward after a devastating EF-3 tornado last Tuesday, staff at Schaumburg Elementary are trying to do the same.

Wednesday morning students will head back to class, but a few miles away at the former Gaudet Elementary site.

Last week's tornado may have damaged Schaumburg Elementary's roof, HVAC system, and other school property, but it didn't hurt the school's spirit to push forward.

"850 kids in the middle of a tornado and not one injury," said ReNEW Charter Management Organization President Kevin Guitterrez. "The school stood up it did exactly what it should do. It was a safe haven for the kids, even some family members who were able to make their way to the school."

Eight days after the storm, classes will resume, and excitement is in the air.

"These kids are unbelievable, they're resilient, and they're troopers and they'll come in here ready to roll," said 3rd Grade Teacher Jon Palmer. "But we know they've been through a lot, and they'll need some extra care and attention."

"There's definitely a sense overall of Schaumburg ,1 and tornado, 0," said 5th Grade teacher Tiffany Scott. "That's sort of our mantra."

However, Schaumburg Elementary is now a construction site, so staff has been working around the clock to get classrooms at the former Gaudet campus ready.

"We're excited about the things that are happening and what we're able to get to do here at this other location," said Palmer. "However, it's been different and it's been difficult but people have risen up for sure."

It may be a different campus, but teachers are doing what they can to make this transition as smooth as possible for the students.

Scott even used the same classroom decorations to try and give students some familiarity to the situation.

"Just so the kids can feel as comfortable as possible," she said. "That they can have a sense of normal."

The first day of school usually brings excitement.

"I'm going to be thankful," said Palmer. "I'm thankful that every student will be coming back in, everybody was safe and that's huge."

However, for these teachers, it also renews their spirit that nothing can stop Schaumburg Elementary, not even a tornado.

"We're not at the same location, but we can still be Schaumburg," said Palmer.

"I know that our kids have gained a sense through this whole tragedy that they know they're ultimately supported," said Scott.

The move will last until the end of the school year. Counselors will also be on hand to help anyone (students, faculty and staff) who may need it. Also, officials said RSE parents should note school times and bus stop locations will remain the same. A new bus will be added to help get the kids who normally walked to school, to the new location. That information can be found on their website.

Also, there are some students who may have lost their uniforms, text books and other school necessities in the tornado. A donation site has been established on the school's website which can be found here.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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