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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2007
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Tanner High raising funds for tornado-struck school

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com 340-2445

TANNER — The students at Tanner High haven't lost their school spirit, so don't worry when they doff their school colors of green and black and don blue and white.

On Friday, Tanner students and staff will wear the colors of Enterprise High and raise money for the tornado-hit school.

Students Against Destructive Decisions chapters in the state designated Friday as Fabulous Friday in honor of Enterprise. A March 1 tornado killed eight students at the high school.

Tanner SADD sponsor Deanna Young said students have collected monetary donations for two weeks and will continue collections through Friday. Staff members will make a $5 donation to wear jeans Friday. All the money will go to the Enterprise Relief Fund.

"A bulletin board in the main hall has been covered with news articles on the destruction," Young said. "The kids walk by and see that, and they know this could have happened here."

Chris Payne, SADD sponsor and art/computers teacher at Daleville High near Enterprise, initiated Fabulous Friday by e-mailing SADD chapters in Alabama.

Payne is a 1992 graduate of Enterprise and taught one of the students who died.

His SADD chapter has been working alongside students from Texas and Florida this week to clear debris.

"It is inspiring when students in Tanner and at other schools and even from other states work their tails off for people they have never met," Payne said.

He said pictures cannot convey the destruction in Enterprise.

"It's more than the school," he said.

"It's such a huge area. When you're standing there, it's an awkward, eerie feeling. You see trees ripped in half, homes that are wasted. My kids would find photographs in the rubble, and they would break down and cry."

Payne said about 50 teens worked at one man's home, hauling brick and pieces of the frame to the roadside.

"Basically, we were moving his house to the curb in pieces," Payne said.

They found pictures and some wood-carving tools that belonged to the homeowner and saved them.

"He walked up as we were finishing for the day, and one of the girls handed him an envelope of pictures we saved," Payne said. "He had tears in his eyes as he told us about his family. It was very emotional."

Young said for Tanner students and staff, this is one way the school can "offer hope to the survivors of the disaster."

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