Watch CBS News

Dallas Teacher Overwhelmed As Donations Pour In For Tornado-Ravaged Schools: 'It Means So Much'

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - School supplies, snacks and big-dollar donations continue to pour in for schools decimated by the tornadoes eight days ago.

The support moved Thomas Jefferson High School teacher Lisa Alfonso to tears on Monday.

"It means a lot," she shared, while waving her fingers in front of her eyes to try and stem the tears that quickly filled them. "We came here last week with absolutely nothing and the fact that all of these people want to help us out, help our kids out.  It means so much."

Lisa Alfonso
Lisa Alfonso - Thomas Jefferson High teacher who got emotional about community support after tornado. (CBS 11)

Alfonso, who teaches English III to ESL students, was part of a group of Dallas ISD staffers who gathered to receive a $50,000 check from Reliant Energy.

The donation is specifically earmarked to help teachers at the devastated campuses--Thomas Jefferson High, Cary Middle School and Walnut Hill Elementary-- restock their classrooms.

"I have a lot of educators in my family, so I know first hand they give of their time, but also their personal finances just to keep things going in their classrooms," says Andrea Russell, Reliant Vice President & General Manager, "so we want to help out and provide some relief there."

Buckner International also delivered school supplies to the campus.

"Honestly, it feels incredible," says Thomas Jefferson Principal Sandi Massey, who thanked the community for the support, praised her staff and also pleaded for students who have yet to report to the new campus, to return.

"I want my kids to come back.. all of my students," says Massey. "We're still missing quite a few, and I want you to know that if you have a situation, a challenge that's keeping you from getting on a bus or keeping you from traveling to Edison, we will find a way to get you here and make it work for you... so please come tell us, talk to us."

Principals at the other DISD campuses forced to relocate say they are mindful of the emotions attached to the loss of what, for many, was a home away from home, but overall, students and staff are adjusting well.

"We're doing a needs assessment. There are some items, kind of like tech, some of those bigger pieces that were lost," says Phillip Potter, Principal of Walnut Hill Elementary. The school was destroyed, so students were moved to Tom Field Elementary. "The community stepped up in a large way. So supplies are running strong, instruction is running strong, so we feel like we're in a really great spot, considering the challenges that we've faced."

In addition to school supplies, other local businesses have even delivered breakfast and lunch to teachers at the impacted campus. And the love is the guilt-free icing.

"Even if you just want to get your whole company to send notes of encouragement to our staff? A small thing like that goes a long way-- that could be done all year long," says Principal Massey. "So it's not just about money, it's about words of encouragement and just being there to support us."

And the supplies?

"It's going to go to good use," says Alfonso, "and we could not be more grateful. We couldn't be more grateful, that's all I can feel right now: a sense of overwhelming gratitude, really."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.