Mitchell Reports | May 22, 2012
>>> one year ago today, the city of joplin , missouri was levelled by an f-5 tornado wiping out thoughts homes and killing 161 people. half a dozen schools were torn apart, including joplin high school , hours after its graduation for the class of 2011 . on monday, students gather ford a special graduation ceremony , so special president obama paid tribute in his commencement address there to the class' resilience as a class and as a community.
>> you can serve as a remind er that we're not meant to walk this road alone. we're not expected to face down adversity by ourselves. we need god. we need each other. we are important to each other and we're stronger to together than we are on our own.
>> the principal of joplin high school joins me now. congratulations to you and to your leadership and the leadership of the community and all of your class. what did it mean to you to have president obama there as commencement speaker there last night?
>> it was a great honor for our students and our community. i think it was very appropriate for him to come back to joplin , specially at this time. our industry's trying to recover and the school system the same. we're pleased he was able to come and celebrate with us last night the students' accomplishments.
>> and what about that rebuilding? i know you're standing in front of the hospital, which was also hit. you had so much devastation, so much loss, loss of life was so profound, including some of your students, hows that been emotionally for the kids to get over it and to go on and rebuild and pursue their hopes and dreams?
>> it's been hard for a lot of students. a lot of students saw things that they should never have to see in a lifetime, adults as well. last year's events were just beyond imagination and something that we never want to encounter again. we hired counselors and we had a lot of help from a lot of different folks to come in and work with students and some staff members. as the year went on, things got bet for students. we have a lot of kids in our district, every time there's a thunderstorm or storm of some kind, it's a reminder. i think for a generation we're going to have a lot of kids that are going to always have that in the back of their mind. but the students responded. they came to school, we did the best we could to provide a good school year for them. i was very proud of all of our students district wide. the class of 2012 achieved a lot the school year. they had a good time with our temporary facility. i think our kids made the best of it and we stayed with them all the way.
>> you've got a number of ground breakings in joplin today for new schools at every level.
>> yes, we do. middle schools , elementaries and the high school and tech center together. it's a great day to celebrate. unity walk today and the unity walk with the city and the school district and all of the different organizations and the hospital, we're all coordinated together because this is a milestone for our city, for different points along the walk and different things are going to happen to help signal the rebuild and the recovery and the moving forward. so very excited today in joplin , and this one-year anniversary we're remembering but also planning to move forward.
>> you are a lesson to all of us, an example, and thank you so much for joining us today. good luck to all of you