Many continue to pick up the pieces in Picher. For students that means finishing out the school year. Two weeks ago, the superintendent closed schools after a tornado devastated the town. As News On 6 anchor Latoya Silmon reports, schools reopened on Friday so students could have a proper farewell.
Picher students were back in school on Friday, but only to say goodbye.
"We felt like we needed to come back and have a day of closure," said Steve Buckingham,
Picher/Cardin High School Principal.
Two weeks ago, a tornado toppled homes and turned lives there upside down. Six people died and more than 150 were injured. The school is one of the few things left standing. Reminders of better days line the hallways, but a feeling of finality looms in the air.
"When the buyout started three or four years ago, everybody thought last year would be the last and this year would be the last. It's just that question in the back of everybody's mind every day," said Buckingham.
But, on Friday they pressed on, choosing to celebrate all they've overcome instead of what so many of them have lost.
"Yeah, they were glad to be back, and they're glad to be here. And, that's why we don't want to shut down cause these kids want to go to school here," said Buckingham.
Teachers, like Wanda Lippe, also wanted to stay put for as long as possible.
"I'll stay next year because the people of Picher have been good to me. And, I feel like I need to return that favor," said Wanda Lippe, teacher.
Despite the buyout and the devastation, Picher's superintendent says school will resume in August. With families contemplating relocation, it's not clear what the student body will look like next year.