MOORE, Okla. - Students from the southwest Missouri district where nine schools were destroyed or damaged in a May 2011 tornado drove hundreds of miles to Moore, Okla., to help children who lost their school to a tornado last year.
After about a three hour drive, Joplin elementary school students had one thing on their minds, to show support for fellow students at Plaza Towers Elementary through donations and compassion.
"We're looking to the Joplin students to see how far they've come the last few years as role models for our students to see the growth that can happen the positive that can come out of this," Amy Simpson, Plaza Towers Elem. Principal said.
The Joplin 5th graders at Stapleton Elementary raised more than $3,000 and collected 600 books to give to the students here at Plaza Towers.
They also brought with them hundreds of letters of encouragement.
"It's been an emotional journey just coming here today. I know Plaza Towers lost seven kids and we lost a lot of families and so when he first saw them we were kind of emotional because we know the feelings that going through all year," Principal of Stapleton Elem. School Karen Secrist said.
"We already feel like we're bonded," she said.
This is the first time the 5th graders are meeting in person and it's in the school cafeteria that their bond really forms -- over burgers and giggles.
"I was really really happy and when this is all done I hope we get to do the same thing to them that they did to us," Larissa Trevino, a 5th grader at Plaza Towers Elementary School said.
"We're going to try to build relationships to keep for a long time," Ally Jacobs, Stapleton Elem. School said.