Chapman Schools Start Over After Tornado

By: Natasha Trelfa Email
By: Natasha Trelfa Email

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There's exactly one month until students start school here in Chapman, and
while there's still debris left from the tornado that destroyed the town,
arrival of dozens of these modular classrooms has teachers and students ready to get back to school.

"Over where we used to have the art building, we'll have modular classrooms
there," said Tony Frieze, superintendent of U.S.D. 473 schools, as he talks to Chapman High students," One month from today, you'll be in school."

If education is the foundation for success, students in Chapman are getting in on the ground floor, literally.

"I know it will be tough but I'm sure we'll build it back and it we'll be
twice as strong," said Kaitlinn Nelson, a junior at Chapman High.

"Our students have always made the standard of excellence and that's not
going to change," said Frieze.

The race to get students back to class this fall began just hours after a
deadly tornado ripped through town, leaving more than $40,000,000 worth of
damage to the schools alone. Now, barely a month later that race reached a
milestone as 24 temporary classrooms, 9 elementary, 4 middle and 11 high
school, start to take shape.

"I w as so worried we were not going to have school at all, but they
figured something out," said Samantha Jansen, also a junior at Chapman High.

While there will be plenty of new experiences this year, officials say this
is turning into a positive lesson for these students that the more things

"Over by that part, we're going to rebuild it all," said Frieze.

The more things stay the same.

"Same as always, we'll be using the multipurpose room," said Frieze.

It's become a mission the superintendent says they couldn't have done alone.

"I really appreciate that support we've gotten from around the nation,"
said Frieze.

At least there's one thing these students won't have to rebuild: Their
fighting Irish spirit.

"I'm looking forward to still kicking Abilene's butt in sports. Our school
may be gone, but we aren't. We're here and we're gonna win," said Nelson.

Classes begin August 18.

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