Answered Prayers for Cindy Lowe & Students Alumni Testimonials from Tornado Victims, Volunteers

Cindy (Buchanan 99) Lowe Teacher, Briarwood Elementary School, Moore, Oklahoma

My experience on May 20 was shared with my 10 first-grade students, my kindergarten son and two classroom parents that arrived a couple of minutes before the eF5 tornado leveled my classroom at Briarwood Elementary. 

It is a day that none of us will soon forget. When I think about the moments leading up to and during the tornado, they are vivid images that still play over and over in my mind. I was fearful for the little ones I was responsible for that day, as well as for my own safety. 

After telling my students to get their backpacks on and put books over their heads, we did what every Oklahoman has practiced in school; we crouched down on the floor along an interior wall. Most of my students were under a large computer table. Every few seconds, I kept inching desks and an easel closer to the ones not covered, including myself and my son, who was underneath me. 

Waiting for the tornado to hit was the hardest part. The only thing I knew to do was pray. While my ears were hearing the loudest, ugliest sounds I’ve ever heard, I prayed as loud as I could for God’s protection over the children in my class. Actually, I prayed for the tornado to lift or for God to make it turn. 

My prayers weren’t answered in the way I wanted, but I believe they were answered. A section of my concrete interior classroom wall fell across us that day. This sounds horrible, and it was. But it also landed across that table most of my class was under and those desks and easel. It created a “pocket” that shielded us from other flying debris that day. 

My students and my son had scrapes and cuts, some had bruises, but they all walked out with me! We all witnessed horrible devastation, but since then, we have been on the front row to the compassion and giving hearts from people we may never know. 

In the months that have followed, I see more of my prayers being answered. Our school is being rebuilt, our community is coming together stronger than before, and we are learning to stay safe the next time severe weather strikes. 

Fall 2013

View more stories from the Fall 2013 issue of Vision magazine.