‘Thank God no one died,’ Franklin High School principal says

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FRANKLIN, Texas (KWTX) Franklin ISD students returned to class Tuesday following an unexpected day off Monday after an EF-3 tornado struck the town of just more than 1,500 residents Saturday.

(Photo by Christy Soto)

Water bottles and hand sanitizers were available because a boil order is still in effect for the community.

The day started with a morning assembly.

The tornado Saturday morning hit the south side of town, destroying 55 homes, two churches, four businesses and heavily damaging the community’s food pantry.

Ten of the 55 homes were ones in which students lived, Franklin High School Principal Russell White said.

More than a dozen people were injured, but only two were hospitalized.

“The first thing I said was just want to thank God that no one died,” White said Tuesday.

“You see the devastation over there and that was my first thought driving into town was that there is going to be a loss of life everywhere but the loss of material things, of course, is a loss but they can overcome that at least no one lost their life,” White said.

“The students are going to grieve in different ways even if they weren’t directly affected, they are going to know somebody who’s effected. So we have a counseling team, the counselor myself, my assistant principal they can meet with us and we are going to walk with them through anything they need,” White said.

Students stepped up to help in the aftermath of the tornado, embracing the motto “Franklin Strong.”

Sophomore Lauren Mack and junior Brent Buckley, along with other students, went to the south side of town to help residents salvage what they could and to help clean up.

“I just wanted to be out there an actually help them and I feel like I needed to do something because there is so much that needs to be done,” Mack said.

“We cleaned up some houses and people who just needed help and needed hands.”

The students say they will continue to help with the town’s recovery.

“I feel like we have made a dent and there is so much more we can do and so much more we want to do and I feel like eventually, we can make a big difference,” Buckley said.

The students created Franklin Strong T-shirts as a fundraiser.

They’ll go on sale for $10 each at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the high school parking lot and may also be purchased online.