Thomas Jefferson H.S. alumni organize fundraiser after tornado damages campus

Former Dallas ISD students are coming together to help current DISD students recover from last week's tornado.

Thomas Jefferson High School, Cary Middle School and Walnut Hill Elementary suffered the most damage and all three campuses could be condemned due to damage. Although a lot of donations are coming in, the district said the need is great for supplies and clothing.

A visit inside the temporary home of the elementary school shows the supplies are stacking up, like folders and construction paper.

“Just the outpouring of support from the community has been unreal,” said Phillip Potter, Walnut Hill Elementary Principal.

Though students and teachers have collected some of what they need for the classroom, there are still specific items on their amazon wish list -- like calculators and science lab goggles.

The schools are also seeking monetary donations to replace iPads, computers and other technology. Administrators say there are long-term needs outside of the classroom too.

“Many of them lost everything, they don’t have anything left,” said Liliana Valadez, Exec. Director of Parent Advocacy at Dallas ISD. “Families need to go get clothes, and jackets because of the weather, toiletry items, food, so the best thing is gift cards at this time.”

Alumni of Thomas Jefferson H.S. are planning a fundraiser Friday night to help displaced and homeless students.

“It hurts, it hurts, it makes me so sad. This was our home, this is where were from, this is our school,” Nina Castro, Thomas Jefferson HS Alumni Association.

Castro graduated in 1997 and now works with homeless students in need at the campus. She said at any given time there are a few dozen homeless students at T.J.

“Now there's a lot more homeless, there's displaced students, there’s kids that are gonna need help, Castro said. “Some of their houses were completely destroyed.”

So the alumni association decided to collect money, coats, gift cards, and more to help.

“We care about you, we want to show you that alumni are here for you, anything we can do to help,” Castro said.

The Thomas Jefferson Alumni Association fundraiser is Friday at a Step Up Lounge on Walnut Hill with live music, auction and raffle. It will take place from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.