Back to School for Tornado-Damaged High School Students

Thomas Jefferson High School students went back to class on Wednesday at an alternative campus 9-miles away.

The new normal started Wednesday for nearly 2,000 students and staff from Dallas' Thomas Jefferson High School.

The school was one of three in the Dallas Independent School District that may be deemed a total loss due to the amount of damage sustained late Sunday night when an EF-3 tornado cut a nearly 17-mile scar across the city.

"This is not like anything I've ever experienced before," said Principal Sandi Massey, as she surveyed the whirlwind of activity inside of the former Thomas Edison Middle Learning Center in West Dallas which, for the foreseeable future, will be her school's new home away from home. "And I don't know how many principals can say they've had to go through a situation like this where, not only are you moving but also the loss of what you are losing is so great."

Massey and other higher-up administrators in the Dallas ISD have overseen a massive undertaking in the days since the determination was made that Thomas Jefferson would be unusable for at least the rest of this school year.

That decision triggered a series of moves, including coming up with a busing plan to transport students nine miles across the city, twice a day.

One of those students is Esmeralda Villegas, whose mother dropped her off on the first day at Thomas Edison so she could see the sophomore off on her first day.

"It's been kind of rough knowing that my school went through a lot," said Villegas, who noted that she felt fortunate her family home escaped any damage.

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