LISD lends a hand

Students help with tornado restoration

Student+advisory+board+members+junior+Ryan+Steen+and+seniors+Alec+McKisic%2C+Ethan+Lowry%2C+Corbin+Duncan%2C+Patrick+Black%2C+Joseph+Addicott+and+Steven+Sanfelippo+helped+organize+school+supplies+before+they+were+donated+to+Dallas+ISD.

Maya Hernandez

Student advisory board members junior Ryan Steen and seniors Alec McKisic, Ethan Lowry, Corbin Duncan, Patrick Black, Joseph Addicott and Steven Sanfelippo helped organize school supplies before they were donated to Dallas ISD.

The Student Advisory Board collected 21 boxes of school supplies and $440 in gift cards for the district-wide donation drive held for Dallas ISD. AP Human Geography teacher Tracy Jennings’ classes brought in the most donations during the two week drive that ended on Nov. 8 and won a pizza party.

“I feel so blessed to be in a community where people have such big hearts, and they open up and give when people are in need,” Student Advisory Board Head Nema House said. “We’re very happy with the results we got.”

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While the Dallas Cowboys were playing the Philadelphia Eagles, captivating the attention of thousands of fans on Sunday, Oct. 20, 10 tornadoes ripped through North Texas, destroying houses and businesses along the way.

A few days after the tornados, LISD Superintendent Dr. Kevin Rogers emailed staff, urging schools to contribute to Dallas ISD’s restoration efforts.

House spent that night on the phone with her family friends as the tornado barely missed their house.

“We’re in the closet. We have blankets over our heads. Sirens are going off,” her friend told her.

House prayed for her friends that night. Eventually, the sirens stopped, indicating that they were safe and secure.

Though no deaths were reported, Dallas ISD suffered heavy damage to schools from the tornadoes. Thomas Jefferson High, Carey Middle and Walnut Hill Elementary School are no longer open, displacing nearly 3000 students. DISD is currently relocating students to nearby campuses and developing a plan to rebuild all three schools.

I feel so blessed to be in a community where people have such big hearts.”

— Nema House, Student advisory Board Head

House is also deeply saddened by the complete demolition of Thomas Jefferson High School. When she was growing up in Dallas it was one of the best schools in the area, and House was shocked at the extensive damage they incurred.

“That area was the heart of Dallas,” House said. “TJ was a prestigious school in my days.”

Private schools in Dallas have also been impacted by the tornadoes. St. Marks and Epsicopal School of Dallas both experienced damage to their gym and football fields. Although both schools are still open, students have been using neighboring facilities at The Hockaday School and Greenhill to conduct extracurricular activities.

Major community centers have also experienced significant destruction. The Jewish Community Center in Dallas, which has aquatic and workout facilities, is currently dealing with the aftermath and has only reopened a few portions of their building.

“I’m not someone who easily cries, but this week, I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing,” JCC CEO Artie Allen said. “Arriving at the JCC Monday morning, I honestly didn’t recognize the place.”

The shopping center off of Preston and Royal that once had popular local spots, such as Gazeebo Burgers and The Gents Place, is now scattered rubble. Many business owners have had to close their shops due to the extensive repairs needed.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the tornado recovery efforts will cost $2 billion. The supplies and money donated by LISD to DISD will help teachers and students resume their educational activities.