Ardmore Adventist Academy is rising from the ashes after the tornado.

Ardmore Adventist Academy is rising from the ashes after the tornado.

“Things have moved right along,” principal Stephen Dennis said Thursday.

The school building, located near Majestic Hills, was destroyed by the tornado. It was home to 17 students in first through eighth grade.

The students returned to school Monday after three days off, meeting in the Ardmore Seventh-day Adventist Church.

“It’s more like we’re in a different room than after trauma,” Dennis said. No one was at the school when the storm hit.

The school board met Monday to discuss options and to hear from parents and church members.
The decision was made to rebuild the school, and a building committee was formed.

The school will be getting three modular classrooms which will be used for temporary housing of the school while a new one is being built.

Dennis is on the committee. “It will be the same site but further back from the road for more parking,” he said.

Although detailed plans are still in the preliminary stage, the new school will include a tornado shelter that could fit about 30 people, enough for students and staff, as well as any visitors or people in the nearby community that may need a shelter from the storm.

The students did not hit the books until Wednesday.

On Monday, The Education Superintendent for the Oklahoma Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Jack Francisco led the students in group counseling activities.

“It was just to be talking about it so they can deal with it and they won’t bottle it up,” school principal Stephen Dennis said.

Activities included the students decorating teddy bears that they gave to tornado victims.

The school’s teachers and students moved supplies from the damaged building to the school’s temporary location at the church on Tuesday, with parents and church members lending their time and pick-up trucks.

“It allowed the kids to help with the transition,” Dennis said.

Regular classes started back Wednesday. However, “We don’t have as much school work because we¹re still missing books,” student Brianna Bernt said.

Some books were salvaged from the destroyed building and have been sent to Oklahoma City for cleaning.

“Pastor Jack (Francisco) brought books from Parkview Adventist Academy,” Dennis said.

Parkview is in Oklahoma City. Other Adventist schools across the state have also been contacted to see what books they can spare.

Although many things were not salvageable, the teachers’ grade books were found.

“We found them, a little wet, but readable, usable even. That was marvelous, though the kids were a little disappointed,” Dennis said.

However the students are excited about having a new building and have ideas.

“I’m hoping for a rec room type of thing so we don’t have to go to the gym during our afternoon break,” Bernt said.

Jennifer Lindsey, 221-6526