Kendra Lyn, NBC 5 News
Students at Crosby Elementary School in Forney, like Cassidy Southall, are excited to head back to class Monday after a tornado damaged their school last Tuesday.
Students at Crosby Elementary School in Forney are back to class Monday after a tornado damaged their school last Tuesday.
The elementary school on Diamond Creek Drive has been closed since the storm shattered windows and ripped off part of the school's roof.
Larry Coker with the Forney Independent School District said the school did not take a direct hit from the tornado, but suffered enough damage that the building was determined to be unsafe for students last week.
Debris was removed from the school and the interior repairs were completed on Friday, allowing the school to reopen to students and faculty this week.
The principal greeted students on Monday with a lesson, teaching them the word, "hope." He explained that's the belief that something good can come out of something bad.
Homes in the Diamond Creek subdivision, across the street from the school, are torn apart. The hope in Forney is that the community can rebuild and be stronger than before the tornado.
"I was like, 'Wow! That thing better go away and never come back again,'" said Cassidy, a first grade student at Crosby describing the devastating tornado. "We saw the damage to the houses and school, and I was like, 'Whoa, my school is really hurt.'"
The district decided to cancel classes through the week during the clean-up, but welcomed students back Monday with hugs from teachers and a mascot hopefully making the transition back to some sort of normal day a little easier.
"That's scary stuff when you have a tornado that big come through," said Cassidy's father, Chad Southall. "I think keeping them out a week, make sure everything is safe, is definitely the right thing to do."
The kids said the Pledge of Allegiance to start the day and the principal pledged to keep the students safe. They're sheltered inside of the school, but it's tough to overlook the devastation that still surrounds them.
"The kids are still kind of processing it. Especially, when you're going through the neighbhorhood and looking, seeing the houses, what everyone's lost. It's just made everybody kind of come together as a community," said Christia Anderson, who has two kids who attend the elementary school.
All of the students received free ice cream at lunch-time Monday to make them feel better about their first day back to classes.