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Volume 2 • Issue 8 • June 2011


Providing Exclusive Coverage To The Saint Louis High School Community

Publisher: Stephen Glover sglover@getinthegamestl.com Editor-In-Chief: Wendy Zajac editor@getinthegamestl.com

314.651.1157

3 BROKEN WINGS

Words can’t fully describe the destruction in Joplin, Mo. after last month’s tornado. We get an exclusive interview with Joplin athletics director, Jeff Starkweather who explains what it’s going to take to get the Eagles flying high again.

Photography provided by Robertson ImageCraft www.rimagecraft.com Get In The Game Saint Louis is published monthly by Triple Play Media, Inc. The reproduction of Get In The Game Saint Louis is strictly prohibited without the written consent of the publisher. Statements that are made, implied or expressed in Get In The Game Saint Louis do not always represent the editorial position of Triple Play Media, Inc.


THE EAGLES WILL FLY AGAIN!

Jeff Starkweather Director of Athletics Joplin High School

When the tornado sirens blared on the evening of May 22nd in Joplin, it seemed as if it was just another tornado warning in the southwest Missouri town that borders Kansas and Oklahoma. What no one realized though, was that one of the worst tornado disasters in our nation’s history would cut through the town of over 50,000 on a 14.7 mile path of destruction that was nearly two miles wide at some points. Relief teams from across the country descended upon Joplin to begin cleaning up a scene that resembled an urban landscape destroyed by war. The relief and rescue teams have begun to head www.getinthegamestl.com

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(Top): After the tornado ripped off the letters J, L, I & N ... Someone replaces them with the letters H and E to make out HOPE High School. (LEFT): Old Glory stands guard to the main entrance of Joplin High School. (BELOW): You have to wonder how a church steeple was partially wedged underneath that awning. One of many surreal scenes throughout Joplin after last month’s EF-5 tornado.

home, and Joplin is now left wondering, “What will we do now?” The Joplin School District has suffered significant losses, including the heart of the school district; Joplin Senior High School. Jeff Starkweather, the Athletics Director at Joplin Senior High School discussed the loss of the high 4

school and what will need to be done in order for the Eagles to spread their wings again and fly come this August. Starkweather is a 1982 graduate of Parkwood High School, which is where the current Joplin High School resides and the loss of the high school is something that really hits home for him.

JUNE 2011 • GET IN THE GAME SAINT LOUIS

“I graduated from Joplin Parkwood at the time, which was housed in the current Joplin High School and I’ve been here all my life with the exception of three and a half years of college when I went away,” Starkweather said. “It’s devastating, but the good news is that it’s just buildings and we can rebuild them. Our hearts

go out to all of those families that have lost loved ones as well as their homes, but we will be back and hopefully it’s going to be bigger and better than ever.” Nearly all of the athletic facilities at Joplin High School have either suffered significant damage or have been completely destroyed. www.getinthegamestl.com


(TOP LEFT): The entrance to the gymnasium and auditorium. (TOP RIGHT): Another entrance to the gymnasium and auditorium. (ABOVE): The choir classroom. Notice how the mud was sprayed all over the walls, yet the trophies look as if they were not even moved by the 200 mph. winds that rocked the school. The one facility that was not damaged from the tornado was the school’s 77-year old Junge Field, which is located about two miles northwest of the high school campus and is home to the school’s football team. “Unfortunately, it’s not a pretty scene for our athletic fields, and our community has really stepped up and rallied www.getinthegamestl.com

together,” Starkweather said. “So we will build it again, and we will be playing some games this year.” Some of the facilities that are gone are the school’s baseball and softball fields as well as the tennis courts. The soccer field is littered with shards of wood everywhere and nobody knows where the goals went,

but possibly the most devastating loss is Kaminsky Gymnasium, which collapsed during the tornado. “The baseball field is completely leveled,” Starkweather said. “We lost our backstop and our dugouts are completely gone. The scoreboards and fences are gone, and obviously we play volleyball and basketball in-

side the high school gym, and that is gone as well.” For Joplin senior Dayton Whitehead, he has not only lost his high school, but his grandparents have lost their home as well. Whitehead plays football for the Eagles, which means that summer workouts have been at either Webb City (Mo.) High School,

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(TOP): The Joplin High School baseball field looking from just past first base to what’s left of the backstop. (TOP RIGHT): At the warning track of the baseball field. The poles that you see were bent about six inches above the ground. (MIDDLE RIGHT): What’s left of the Joplin High School softball field scoreboard. (RIGHT): Looking towards what use to be the backstop of the Joplin High School softball field. which about eight miles north of Joplin, or at Missouri Southern State University, which is located eight miles northeast of the Joplin High School campus, since the weight room at Joplin High School was completely destroyed. “My grandparents hid in their living room and every other room in the house had the roof 6

ripped off, so they were really lucky,” Whitehead said. “The weight room at the high school was destroyed so we had nowhere to lift weights during the summer. But the folks at Webb City and Missouri Southern are letting us use their facilities.” Chloe Hadley is another senior at Joplin High School that is already juggling with sum-

JUNE 2011 • GET IN THE GAME SAINT LOUIS

mer workouts as the volleyball team focuses on the upcoming fall season. “We’re having our summer camp in July, but we don’t know where right now,” Hadley said. “They’re having open gym at Webb City right now but I’m glad that we have sports this year because if they took that away, it would be so much

harder to deal with what we’re already going through.” Hadley’s grandmother was one of many lucky survivors as she hid in her bathtub while the storm ripped through Joplin. The damage to her home forced Hadley’s grandmother to move in with Hadley’s parents. One loss that has been especially tough on Hadley www.getinthegamestl.com


(TOP): The collapsed structure that once was the Joplin High School gymnasium. (LEFT): A close up shot of the gymnasium. Notice the basketball goal with all the rubble. (BELOW): The Joplin High School student section inside the gymnasium. The stairs that you see use to go up to the balcony section.

was the loss of her friend, Will Norton who had graduated from Joplin High School just hours before the storm hit. “Will was a friend that I was really close too,” Hadley said. “So dealing that has been really hard for me.” Now that the cleanup and rebuilding is underway, Starkweather and his coaches are www.getinthegamestl.com

going to need to figure out what’s needed to get ready for the first day of fall practice on August 8th. Before anything can be done, the school district is going to need to settle with the insurance companies and assess what will be needed to start the upcoming school year. “Money is the biggest thing,”

Starkweather said. “We’re still talking with the insurance companies and we don’t really know what’s going to be covered and what’s not going to be covered.” So how can we help the Joplin Eagles? The school district is accepting donations from businesses as well as individuals. If a school district wants

to donate money or equipment to Joplin High School, Starkweather and his staff would be ecstatic. “If other districts wanted to help in buying equipment or sending money, that would be awesome,” Starkweather said. “But then again, we appreciate anything and everything that everyone’s been doing.

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D I S C OV E R T H E D R U R Y D I F F E R E N C E

LE ARN I NG I S A VE RB

R E A DY I S A PR OM I S E

LIFE IS FUN

C H O O S E . D R U R Y. E D U


Get In The Game Saint Louis (June 2011)