Two Mile Prairie awards assembly interrupted by tornado warning

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Two Mile Prairie Elementary held an award assembly Friday, March 4, that was interrupted by the day’s thunderstorm and subsequent tornado warning.

There were separate assemblies for students in kindergarten through second grade and students in third through fifth grades. In the middle of the second assembly, the steady sound of rain on the gym’s metal roof was interspersed with thunder. The wind shook the rafters, making them rattle, and an outside door blew open.

“Just remember, it’s always a little different on the prairie,” Principal Patti Raynor said as she closed the door.

Students were awarded for both academic and non-academic reasons. Among the positive traits and actions, highlighted were “having a huge heart,” “improving test scores” and “making good choices.”

All of the awards had been handed out and Rob Allen’s fifth-grade homeroom had just finished singing and dancing their way through the “cookie conga” to promote a school fundraiser when the assembly was brought to an early end.

A tornado warning had been issued in Boone County and the school had to follow tornado drill procedure. Teachers quickly led students to their assigned locations, and Raynor asked the parents and others who had attended the assembly to take cover in the interior classrooms as well.

In one classroom, first- and second-grade students knelt quietly along the wall and under desks for several minutes with their arms covering their heads. Their teachers alternately praised and reassured them by rubbing backs and telling them they were doing a good job of keeping safe.

“I’m scared,” one student said after a loud crash of thunder. Other students whimpered and some began to fidget.

One of the teachers started reading a book of poems by Shel Silverstein, and the students calmed down again.

The students were dismissed later than normal because the school had to wait for the storm to pass, but after a slight scare and a little adventure, they were sent on their way to enjoy the weekend.

Linda Hammond, the mother of a second-grader and a fifth-grader at Two Mile Prairie, said the interrupted award ceremony was the third thwarted attempt to dump water on fourth-grade teacher Tiffany Wallace. It was an award for students for bringing in the most cans of food for the Food Pantry during the Souper Bowl.

“Two snow days and a tornado warning,” Allen said to Wallace as they were escorting their students out, “Do you think you’ll get out of it?”

“I know. Third time.” Wallace replied.

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