Joplin Interim High School
Sometimes a school building is more than just a place to learn. After a tornado whipped through Joplin, Mo., in May 2011, destroying the town's high school, the wrecked building was another sign of the devastation that had come to the community. Rebuilding the school became a matter of symbolic importance. Plans were drawn up overnight, and only 55 days after the tornado, the district's juniors and seniors had a new school building—in a former shopping center.
In a town recovering from trauma, in a school that didn't look quite like a school, rebuilding school spirit and a sense of community was an important first step. The walls are bedecked with the school's mascot, an eagle.
"When they walked into a building that was 'eagled up,' full of school spirit, looking comfortable and different—I think that made a difference," says Angela Besendorfer, an assistant superintendent...
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