Jones School Bounces Back a Year Later

Tuesday, December 16th 2008, 9:30 am
By: News On 6

By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9

JONES, OK -- It was a year ago that the people of Jones lost their school building in a massive fire.

With the recent wintry weather, it brings back bittersweet memories of the ice storm that devastated many parts of the state.

In Jones it was both ice and flames that destroyed the old Jones High School building. Now, students, staff and teachers are still standing strong.

Related story: 12/10/2007  Fire Destroys Jones High School

"It's been difficult," Jones High School cook Kay James said. "The cafeteria itself didn't burn, but just getting the stuff out of it, and seeing the structure, a lot of pictures up there I haven't seen before today and it's hard, it's hard."

For James, losing the building was very personal. Both of her sons went to the school and she's served the students for 24 years. To the long-time cook, each student is like her own son or daughter.

"We're here for the kids too, we're here for the kids too," James said.

Jones High School students have braved the weather, rain or shine, and studied in trailers while the new school is a work in progress. Wednesday's lunch commemorated the incoming building.

"I know today has been a happy day, it's not depressing," Jones High School Senior Justin Taylor said. "It was a year ago, but we just fight through it."

They fought with the support from people all across the state.

It's easy to see that school spirit is alive and well; green signs, green shirts, and the green tree. It's clear the Jones Longhorns have trumped through tragedy and turned to triumph.

"My hair was black before this started, now this year it's gray," Mike Steele, Jones Schools Superintendent said. "No, it's just something you have to do, you just roll up your sleeves, don't look back."

Construction is moving quickly to build the Longhorns a new home. The ground work started Wednesday and should be done by Christmas.

School officials hope the new school will be up and running by the summer of 2010.