MOORE — A little after 2 p.m. Monday afternoon, the gym at Moore High School looked the way it usually does during the sixth-hour athletic period in the final week of school.
With no more practices to get to, or games to prepare for, athletes from nearly every sport were scattered around the gym, talking, hanging out, waiting for 3 p.m. so they could go home for the day.
But before that 3 p.m. bell ever rang, the students' leisurely environment turned to tension, watching the devastating tornado ripping through their town and coming toward their school.
“At about 2:45, they told us to keep all the kids here,” said Ryan Dukes, Moore's boys golf coach. “A little after 3 o'clock, it started coming toward us. But it went straight down Fourth St., and just missed the high school.
“I know we had some students who lost their houses.”
Knowing the threat of tornadoes was forecast for the metro area around 3 p.m., Moore School administrators had made the decision Monday morning that there would be no after-school activities beyond the regular sixth-period athletic hour.
“The administrators told us early in the day that we needed to have our kids out by 3 p.m., so there would be no after-school activities,” Westmoore football coach Billy Langford said. “We were planning to practice, but we called it off.
“We were in our athletic hour at about 2:30 when we got the call to take the kids to the safe room. We just hung out there with the rest of the student body until it all passed.”
At one point, Westmoore High School was in the projected path of the tornado. Unlike other schools in the district, it was spared.
“It was coming at us, but it turned. We're all safe, thankfully,” Langford said. “But I know we've got a lot of kids with family members and friends who were impacted by this. It was just terrible to see.”
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything... read more ›