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Only a Month After Tornado Tore Through Town, HS Seniors Gather for Emotional Class Photo

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High school seniors everywhere have been coping with the fact that most of them won’t have the opportunity to walk at their graduation ceremony this year.

The seniors at a school in Chattanooga, Tennessee, are dealing with loss far beyond that after a tornado ripped through the city on Easter Sunday.

Though the EF-3 tornado devastated Grace Baptist Academy and the church it stands next to in under two minutes, the students and faculty have rallied together and remained faithful.

“We have only lost our House — we have not lost our Home! God knew this would happen and allowed it to happen. He has an exciting plan for the next chapter of our ministry,” the school’s website says.

Last week, the graduating class of 2020 came together to take a class photo in front of where the school they all loved used to stand.

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It was a memory that none of them will soon forget.

“A week or so after the tornadoes, I made a whole group chat on Instagram with the entirety of my class,” senior class president Allison Sigler told ABC’s “Good Morning America.

“There are only 30 of us, and I just proposed that we go down and take a picture in front of the high school — our home.”



Thankfully none of the students or faculty (or any of the missionaries who live on campus) were injured in the twister’s path of destruction through the church and school campus.

“There is severe damage to all our buildings and across the campus. We are so thankful that no one was injured. The missionaries who reside in the houses on campus are all safe. We are thanking the Lord for His protection but admit we feel a bit shaken from this event,” the school wrote on Facebook.



Between the novel coronavirus cutting their senior year short and the tornado destroying the school building, everybody impacted by the devastation is searching for ways to grieve.

“God has a plan, but He allows us to grieve. He even commands us to grieve at times. I do not apologize for the tears. They are shed for what these students have experienced, and the tears usher in prayers for these students,” Donna Dean, one of the school’s admissions coordinators, wrote on Facebook.

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Despite the major loss, the members of the ministry have put all of their faith in God and believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“A vision for our school has always been these two words: ‘Grace Transforms,'” the head of the school, Matthew Pollock, told “GMA.”

“Our school is being transformed … we can see the future is very, very bright.”

Even though the academy is choosing to focus on hope, its website lists several ways others can help the school get back on its feet: praying, spreading the word about their story and sending “gifts of love.”

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Morgan Brantley is a former staff writer for The Western Journal. She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in journalism. She and her dog, Indy, moved to the Phoenix area from Nashville.
Morgan Brantley is a former staff writer for The Western Journal. She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in journalism. She and her dog, Indy, moved to the Phoenix area from Nashville.




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