Students Head Back to School in Moore, OK

Published 08/16 2013 08:43PM

Updated 08/16 2013 09:12PM

(NBC News) The hugs seemed to last a little longer as the school year started Friday morning at the New Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Oklahoma.

It's easy to understand why parents may be holding on a bit tighter.

The last time these kids left for school seven of their classmates never came home, killed when a powerful tornado ripped the school, and much of the town, apart.

Crews spent the day ripping away the foundation where the building once stood, but the real core of the school is still very much intact.

"They've been very strong and they are just wonderful kids," says teacher Kimberly Martins. "Just to have them in my classroom is exciting, that I get to love on them and comfort them and heal together with them during this time."

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