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Teachers, students in Moore healing as construction continues

MOORE, Okla. – Six months ago, people could see the devastation just moments after an EF-5 tornado touched down in Moore.

Physical and emotional scars remain but the community is recovering, including teachers and students from Plaza Towers Elementary and Briarwood Elementary on this somber anniversary.

Beyond the memorials that honor the seven children who lost their lives on May 20 at Plaza Towers, is a sign of hope.

Safe room hallways are now being built where the new school will stand.

Construction is also happening at Briarwood, another school destroyed six months ago.

Flowers on a fence at that school spell out the word ‘HOPE.’

Donna Goodman said, “It gets better day by day.”

Goodman is a fourth grade math teacher at Briarwood but her classroom is temporarily located inside Emmaus Baptist Church.

She said some days are harder than others for both staff and students.

Goodman said, “Learning will continue to take place every day. We’re here for these kids. We’re going to get them through whatever comes.”

Bob Burleson said, “It’s still on our minds and we’re healing each day.”

Burleson, who is also known as ‘Mr. Bob,’ is a fifth grade math teacher at Briarwood.

Mr. Bob said the bond between students and teachers is strong and continues to grow.

He said, “To go through what we went through last spring and to have this family and to work under these unique circumstances, I think it’s just going to make everyone closer.”

The past six months have been focused on finding normalcy, sticking together and moving forward one day at a time.

While teachers said there are still ups and downs, there’s something very special to look forward to in the days ahead.

Goodman said, “I think the kids are excited about the idea of the new Briarwood and getting to start over.”

Both elementary schools are expected to be finished by August of next year, just in time for the school year.