|
|
|
Morning Sun
  • TOP 10 OF 2012: Joplin continues to rebuild one year later

  • Joplin, Mo., was a place of emotional highs and lows during the week of the one-year anniversary of the tornado that destroyed a third of the town on May 22, 2011.

    • email print
  • Joplin, Mo., was a place of emotional highs and lows during the week of the one-year anniversary of the tornado that destroyed a third of the town on May 22, 2011.
    President Barack Obama came to town on May 21 to give the commencement speech at the Joplin High School Class of 2012 graduation ceremony at Missouri Southern State University. Joplin residents eagerly anticipated the president’s return visit – Obama spoke at a memorial ceremony at MSSU’s Taylor Performing Arts Center about a week after the tornado struck – and observers lined the highway near Joplin Airport to watch the arrival of Air Force One.
    When it was Obama’s turn to speak at graduation, it was clear from the raucous cheering of the crowd that Joplin residents had not forgotten Obama’s last visit, and that they knew he had kept his word to stand by the city every step of the way.
    On the one-year anniversary of the tornado, members of the Joplin R-8 School District celebrated the city’s and the district’s ongoing recovery with groundbreaking ceremonies for the district’s new elementary, middle and high schools. The groundbreakings were part of Operation Rising Eagle, the project to rebuild the district’s schools that were destroyed by the EF5 tornado. They also honored the volunteers and voters — the city recently passed a $62 million bond measure to pay for the construction — who helped make the effort possible.
    The tornado damaged or destroyed 10 of the district’s 20 buildings and caused more than $100 million in damage. The district is rebuilding five schools: Joplin High School, the Franklin Technology Center, which shared a campus with the high school, East Middle School, Irving Elementary School and Emerson Elementary School, which will be renamed Elementary at East.
    Later that day, an estimated 10,000 Joplin residents and volunteers from around the country who helped the city’s recovery efforts gathered to participate in The Day of Unity, a tribute to loved ones lost and to the more than 130,000 volunteers who came from as far away as Japan to help them rebuild their city. The crowd converged for a commemorative walk from the City of Duquesne along the tornado’s path to Cunningham Park, which is across the street from the destroyed St. John’s Regional Medical Center.
    The participants also learned that the Sisters of Mercy Health System had donated the hospital’s campus for a new Stained Glass Theater, city museum and a reconstruction of the hospital’s chapel, which would be built at its exact location and be used for “beginnings,” or things such as weddings and birth celebrations.

        calendar