Moore Teacher Sings 'Jesus Loves Me' To Comfort Students During Tornado

Tuesday, May 28th 2013, 10:10 pm
By: News 9

If you caught any of the community wide prayer service on Sunday, you heard part of a Briarwood teacher's gripping story.

On Tuesday, the teacher and Amanda Taylor went back to the school leveled by the tornado to talk about the storm and the song that got the kids through it.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

It's hard to tell exactly where Ms. Waynel Mayes' classroom once stood. She says she and eight of her 1st graders took cover under their desks.

"I think I just did what all the other teachers did in their own way," Mayes said.

But Ms. Mayes' way took the form of a song. Some of her students were asked to sing Jesus Loves Me at a community wide prayer service.

"They always tell me they're going to be a movie star, a football star and then they're going to be a preacher too," said Mayes. "Instinctively I knew this was going to comfort them. Because that's the song they always want to sing first. Jesus loves me."

And so as the tornado ripped through, which she describes sounding like a blender with 7,000 spoons in it, she found herself and the children drowning out the noise with the simple hymn.

"For me as a human being, it comforted me because my grandmother always sang it to me. And I needed him then and I knew I would need him as it came. And as it got bigger and bigger I'm really glad I choose that song," Mayes said.

When the tornado hit, Ms. Mayes' foot got pinned in that rubble. But she says she didn't even notice. She was so focused on her kids and keeping them singing.

"I had to take care of my babies. I couldn't tell a momma that I lost one," she said.

"If that was the end, I wanted that to be the last thing they heard. I wanted that to be the last things on their minds," Mayes said.

But rescuers threw debris out of the way and pulled all eight of her students out, alive.