The students and staff from Dallas' Thomas Jefferson High School have spent homecoming week adjusting to a new home – a stand-in school building nine miles away from their tornado-damaged building.
As a result of the damage and turmoil caused by the EF-3 tornado that touched down on top of Thomas Jefferson High, as it carved a 17-mile path through the city, the Dallas Independent School District has been forced to scramble to ready a replacement campus in West Dallas, in the former Thomas Edison Middle Learning Center, and procure the equipment needed to carry on class and host a Homecoming football game.
The school's game has been rescheduled from Friday night to Saturday morning to buy some extra time. But an even bigger problem for the football team has been gathering enough equipment to play the game.
"In life there's going to be walls that are going to drop dead smack in front of you, and you got to figure out, 'Do I go around it? Do I go under it? Do I got thorugh it? Go I go over it,'" head football coach Kendall Hill said.
A football team equipment container was blown from the Thomas Jefferson campus across the street and is currently sitting on top of a neighbor’s home. Many uniforms and sets of players’ pads are inside of the damaged Thomas Jefferson building, which means that replacements have become necessary.
But the community has pitched in to help make that possible – the Southern Methodist University football program donated cleats and gloves to the Thomas Jefferson team, Big Game Football Factory donated several footballs for the team to use in upcoming games, and Jerry Jones and other representatives for the Dallas Cowboys are expected to be in attendance for Saturday’s Homecoming game to make a contribution.
And the football team is not the only organization dealing with problems. The band was able to retrieve many of its instruments, but not all.
"Oh, man! For them to have their own stuff for homecoming is a huge deal," Band Director Bob Romano said. "Kids were hugging their instruments when they came in this morning. It was amazing!"
On Friday afternoon, the Highland Park Dad's Club came to the temporary campus to present a $4,000 donation to buy spirit shirts for the students for homecoming week. They said it's just the beginning of a campaign at Highland Park to raise money to help Thomas Jefferson High School.
NBC 5's Noelle Walker contributed to this story.