Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New graduates face devastation afterward Missouri hurricane - CNN.com

Joplin, Missouri (CNN) -- Like approximately every tall educate senior who has donned a crown and robe, Scott Lauridsen was excited.

Finally, after 4 years at Joplin High School, it was time to work. Graduate. Celebrate. Step up to the next stage of his young life.

"I was incited -- ready to begin entities current and push onto institute and experience life and then entire this occurred," said Lauridsen, 18, an day afterward one of the deadliest American twisters ashore log ripped through his hometown of Joplin, Missouri.

And now?

"Now I'm just anxious about assisting out with the community and getting asset back together," he said.

A recent graduate's joy: Another occurrence of Sunday's terrible hurricane.

Lauridsen was one of about 450 seniors to receive a diploma from Joplin High School this year. Their graduation rite at a local campus coated up just as the tempest started to roll in.

Students streamed out of the gymnasium and onto one open lawn as proud parents, family and friends snapped pictures -- smiling graduates against a backdrop of darkening skies. A light rain began to fall and people rushed to their automobiles.

Aaron Frost, different graduate, left with his girlfriend. They were headed to a restaurant to meet his family when Frost, 18, got a cry from his mother.

"She pretty much claimed namely we pulled over," he said. "I would have drove right into the storm. My mother pretty many saved me there."

Frost and his girlfriend ducked into a Fast Trip expedience store and took cover, by with about 18 additional people, inside a walk-in cooler.

"You can't really do everything," he said. "We just bent over and covered our brains."

A chip of glass struck Frost's hand but otherwise he is nice. The store and his car were not as fortunate.

Later, Frost went by his old school, where the roof was ripped off and debris was scattered across the lawn.

Kerry Sachetta, principal at Joplin High School, depicted the harm as "grim."

"I walked nigh as much as I could to penetrate it and it just looks favor it's been bombarded from the outdoor in," he said.

Joplin's public school zone has obliterated classes as the repose of the year.

"To see my high school flattened is especially hard," said Frost. "It's indescribable."

His care is made worse at the uncertainty of not understanding what happened to some people from his community. Phone service in the space namely spotty and friends have skirmished to interlock.

Lauridsen said Will Norton, another Joplin graduate and a friend of his, is missing. Norton and his dad were driving home when the storm hit. A Facebook sheet has been set up to help locate him.

"My dad said ... his seat belt snapped and he was expelled through the sunroof," said Sara Norton, Will's sister.

Their dad is in settled condition, she said, but the family is still trying to needle down accurate where Will might be.

"It just makes me sorrowful to know so many of my classmates have lost their homes and some of them are still lacking," said Taylor Costley, 18, another 2011 graduate of Joplin High School.

She rode out the storm at home with her father, brother and grandparents, panicking for her mother who was briefly -- but terrifyingly-- out of contact.

"Graduation's supposed to be a joyous occasion, but we can't really feel that cheerful about it," Costly said. "At the same time, I'm so thankful I'm OKAY and my family's OK."

CNN's Dana Ford contributed to this report.

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