Plaza Towers Students, Teachers Share Emotional Reunion

Friday, May 24th 2013, 6:23 pm
By: News 9

Teachers use themselves as human shields to save their students' lives. And on Thursday, parents and their kids said 'thank you' at a reunion held for Plaza Towers Elementary.

Eastlake Elementary in Moore opened its doors to kids from Plaza Towers Elementary. The students reunited Thursday with their teachers and classmates for the first time since Monday's tornado destroyed their school and killed some of their own.

For little Kaylee Sanchez, Monday's devastating tornado is still fresh in her mind.

"When it started storming this morning, she was really scared. She didn't want to come down here at all," Maria Sanchez said.

Mom Maria brought her to  Eastlake Elementary to see her friends. It's their first reunion since so many of them were rescued from the rubble of Plaza Towers Elementary.

"It's a therapy for them to open up a little bit more about what happened," Sanchez said.

Seven children were killed at Plaza Towers Monday, most in third grade. Those classes reunited separately, and Emily Stephens was thankful to be there.

"It makes me glad to see my friends and that they're alive and that I'm alive," Stephens said.

Here, they know the importance of the kids helping each other move forward. Kaylee Sanchez said she was happy to see her friends again. Her mom was at work when the tornado hit.

"[I] didn't know what was going on, [I was] devastated. It took me two hours, two-and-a-half hours to get to her," Sanchez said.

Kaylee's kindergarten teacher, Ms. Baxter, text messaged her, telling her Kaylee was okay.

"I'm never going to have anything, any words to repay her for what she did," Sanchez says, "she threw herself on my daughter to protect her, and I'm never going to have anything to repay her."

For now, a hug says it all.

Someone who survived the May 3, 1999 tornado gave one of the many stuffed animals donated. Thursday, it went home with a student from Plaza Towers Elementary.