After a school in Marshall County, Alabama suffered an EF2 tornado on January 11, students and teachers in Goodman, Missouri pulled together to help, remembering how their own school was destroyed by an EF2 tornado in April 2017.
Images of destruction at Brindlee Mountain Primary School brought back painful memories for members of Goodman Elementary who lost their own school to a tornado just a few years ago.
“My whole classroom got torn because I was in first grade, so my whole classroom was torn and everything…and it was really scary,” expressed Hadlee Steele, now a fourth grader at Goodman Elementary.
“I saw a couple of photos and they eerily looked very similar to ours. You see all the kids bright-colored artwork all over the place. I think it did look like it hit the office and hit some places where they had student records, which we didn’t have that, but it looked like it definitely destroyed most of the building,” observed Goodman Elementary Principal Samantha Hamilton.
The tornado hit Brindlee Mountain Primary on a Saturday, taking out the cafeteria and classrooms, including school supplies and books.
When Goodman’s principal saw photos on Facebook, she knew she wanted to help, so she reached out to the principal there, offered advice and comfort, and came up with an idea.
“A classroom library is just definitely a part of a teacher’s heart and soul and it’s definitely part of what they do. So everybody here knew that was the most sad thing they were sad to lose and it’s expensive to replace, so we knew that’s something they could definitely use.”
And, so, the book drive begins.
9-year-old Hadlee brought four sacks full from her personal collection at home.
“It makes me excited that we can give back because our school, when it got hit, when we moved to the middle school, our whole library was made out of donation books and it makes me happy that we’re giving back,” shared Steele.
Hamilton recalls how strangers from all over helped Goodman, providing support and materials till the school got back on its feet. Now, with a new building, Goodman is ready to give.
“The kids are all gonna write letters and kinda write a book to their classes, and let them know it’s gonna be okay, and let the kids’ perspective that went through that help the kids understand and let the teachers know. Sometimes kids’ perspectives are way better than adult perspectives, so we’re gonna try to send a little sunshine their way,” explained Hamilton.
“It might take awhile to rebuild the school, but it comes, and when they get their new school, they’ll love it,” said Steele.
Scholastic in Neosho is also helping Goodman Elementary with donations.
The plan is to collect as many books as possible for a month.
If you’re interested in contributing, you can reach out to Hamilton at Goodman Elementary by calling (417) 364-7216.