Okla. tornado survivors prepare for new school year

Associated Press | AP Photo: Sue Ogrocki
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Sisters play at the school yard

Nearly three months after a twister blasted through Moore, Okla., on May 20, destroying two elementary schools and killing seven children, students are preparing to go back to class. See gallery

Although many families are ready to return to a familiar routine, parents and teachers say the children have fears that are still fresh, and a lot more healing is still needed. Both schools – Plaza Towers Elementary and Briarwood Elementary – have been razed to concrete slabs, as have most of the surrounding homes. Students will attend class in temporary buildings starting Friday, Aug. 16.

 

In this photo: Ruby Macias, 9, center, who was pulled from the rubble of Plaza Towers Elementary School, swings on a tire swing with her sister, Aylin, 4, left, and brother Angel, 7. Angel was also at the school on the day of the tornado.

AP Photo: Sue Ogrocki
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Playing in a bounce room of friends

Xavier Delgado, right, who was pulled from the rubble of Plaza Towers Elementary following the tornado, plays with his friends in a bounce room during his 10th birthday party. At rear is Cort Nayph, who was also in the school when the tornado struck. Xavier lost seven classmates in the tornado.

AP Photo: Sue Ogrocki
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Family portrait

Kai Heuangpraseuth, 9, right, who was pulled from the rubble of Plaza Towers Elementary, poses for a photo with his mother, Jacalyn Russell, and sisters Reminisce Chanthavong, 5, left, and Scarlet Russell, 1, in Moore. Russell said that it's not just Kai — whenever there's a storm she ends up with all three children climbing into bed with her.

AP Photo: Sue Ogrocki
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After a game of football

Cameron Richardson, right, who was trapped in the rubble of Plaza Towers Elementary, poses for a photo with his brothers, Anthony Richardson, 3, center, and Davion Richardson, 13, in their yard in Moore.

AP Photo: Sue Ogrocki
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School meeting at Plaza Towers

Jennifer Doan, left, listens during a meeting of past and present staff of Plaza Towers Elementary at the school's temporary location at Central Junior High School in Moore on Aug. 14. Doan suffered fractures in her spine and sternum when the steel-and concrete-reinforced cinder block wall fell in one piece on top of her and her students who had taken cover in a school hallway when the tornado hit. She has not been medically cleared to return to teaching this year. At right is Doan's fiancé, Nyle Rogers.

AP Photo: Sue Ogrocki
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Fourth-grade teacher preparations

Kimberly Martinez, a fourth-grade teacher for Plaza Towers Elementary, prints students' names on their desks for an open house to be held at the school's temporary location in Central Junior High in Moore on Aug. 14. Martinez will be one of two teachers for the third-grade students who were trapped in tornado rubble and lost seven of their classmates.

AP Photo: Sue Ogrocki
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Plaza Towers' principal

Amy Simpson, principal at Plaza Towers Elementary, gestures as she answers a question during an interview at the site of the school. Behind her are the crosses erected in memory of the seven students who died at the school during the May 20 tornado. A strong wind has blown down a section of the chain link fence, covered with T-shirts and memorabilia, that surrounds the site.

AP Photo: Sue Ogrocki
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Plaza Towers memorial

Lee Lewis, of Cisco, Texas, looks over a memorial to the seven students killed at Plaza Towers Elementary. Lewis is a volunteer with a group from the Cicso Church of Christ that visited the school in July.

AP Photo: Sue Ogrocki
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A brick to remember

A brick from the destroyed Plaza Towers Elementary is displayed along with a stuffed panther and family photos in Nikki McCurtain's classroom at the school's temporary location in Central Junior High.  McCurtain will be one of two teachers for the third-grade students who were trapped in tornado rubble and lost seven of their classmates.

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