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First Round of New Joplin Schools Now Open

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The Joplin High School sign is seen in front of the rubble of the school after the letters H and E were placed on it reading 'Hope' as the town rebuilds from the catastrophic tornado that hit almost one year ago on May 19, 2012 in Joplin, Missouri. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Joplin High School sign is seen in front of the rubble of the school after the letters H and E were placed on it reading ‘Hope’ as the town rebuilds from the catastrophic tornado that hit almost one year ago on May 19, 2012 in Joplin, Missouri. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - A ribbon-cutting ceremony at a Joplin elementary school completed the first round of openings of schools built since a tornado hit the city in May 2011.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was on hand Wednesday to help officially open Soaring Heights Elementary School. The school district had similar ceremonies recently at the new Irving Elementary School and East Middle School.

The Joplin Globe reports Superintendent C.J. Huff had set a goal of getting students into the new schools by this January.

Nixon said Joplin and its schools will continue to be a “shining beacon” for their recovery after the tornado, which killed 161 people.

A new combined Joplin High School and Franklin Technology Center is scheduled to open in August.

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