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Goodman Elementary "Total Loss" From Tornado, But "Babies" Are S - KOAM TV 7

Goodman Elementary "Total Loss" From Tornado, But "Babies" Are Safe

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GOODMAN, MISSOURI -

There have been no reported deaths from a tornado last night in Goodman.  But many buildings have significant damage.  One of them is Goodman Elementary School, where teachers say there are many blessings.

Earlier today, Goodman Elementary teachers gathered at the Neosho School District building, since Goodman is part of the Neosho School District.  It was an important time for them, away from the media.  They used that time to hug each other, cry, and comfort each other.

That's where we talked with Goodman Elementary's principal about everything that has happened.

It's a school, to you and I, with students, to you and I.  But many of us don't live in Goodman.

"I have three personal babies," says Goodman Elementary Principal Samantha Hamilton.  "But I have 317 non-personal babies."

Goodman Elementary is expected to be deemed a total loss by insurance workers.  Hamilton views what happened as a total miracle.

"Our custodian, bless his heart, his name is Lucky, and he's living up to his name!  He was in one of the areas that we take shelter, and was perfectly safe and unharmed completely," says Hamilton.  "His truck didn't make it, but he was safe.  Our after-school program had ended 30 minutes before the tornado came through, and they were all picked-up on time that day, which is non-typical.  Our staff had left and were home safely by the time it happened.  So, it was a miracle."

"There are a lot of kids who live right in the immediate radius of our school.  We have about 100 kids who are not bus eligible who live in a mile radius of our school," says Hamilton.

No lives were lost.  But lives have been dramatically changed forever.  

Hamilton knows there will be some unique healing; the type of healing where Goodman tornado survivors come together and end up realizing how they're now even stronger people.

"That's their safe place.  So many of our kids, school is the safest place for them.  And now that's scary for them.  So, we've got to get a plan together to keep them together and keep them feeling safe and comfortable, and the teachers feeling safe and comfortable, so we can continue doing what we're meant to do," says Hamilton.

All classes within the Neosho School District have been canceled for tomorrow. Friday is the Neosho city-wide garage sale, and school was already called-off for that day since, according to school district officials, the city gets so crowded it's hard for school buses to navigate.  School district officials were still meeting Wednesday afternoon and evening to discuss plans for next week.

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