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High school student braves storm to protect her little sister

By Alexis Wainwright

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    JACKSBORO, Texas (KTVT) — The clean-up continued across North Texas Wednesday after at least 10 confirmed tornadoes touched down on Mar. 21. One of the areas hit hardest was Jacksboro, where officials confirmed an EF-3 twister moved through.

Jacksboro Elementary School was hit by the tornado, and it’s hard to believe that students, parents, and staff were inside the building and made it out alive.

In a cell phone video given to CBS 11, someone can be heard shouting, “Have a seat against the wall.”

This was the view inside the school as the EF-3 tornado moved through. In the video, the lights were out, alarms were going off, and people were taking cover on the floor in the hallway.

“The moment I got in, all the kids were on the floor crying. I’m just trying to look for my little sister,” Jacksboro High School student Betsy Ailyn Santana Flores said. “And the moment it hit, it was just pitch black. I couldn’t find her.”

In a moment where most people would panic, Flores was on a mission as she recorded the video.

“Someone [was] saying, ‘Everyone evacuate, we have a tornado warning,’ and then when we heard that everyone started to freak out,” Flores said. “I just calmed down and wanted to get my sister out.”

Flores is a freshman at Jacksboro High School, but she said she left her building and went to look for her sister inside the elementary school, one of the hardest hit buildings across town.

“They told me get down, and I got down with like her and four other kids. I told them to get under me so they don’t get hurt,” Flores said. “I was scared, and terrified but I was kind of worried like ‘Oh, I’m not going to make it.’”

As they walked outside, they got their first look at how bad the storm really was.

Flores’ father is still in shock.

“I never seen something like that,” Vicente Santana said. “I’m lucky today because I got my family here.”

Jacksboro ISD said classes will resume next week. The middle school was not damaged. The high school gym was destroyed, but the district said students can return there for class. They are trying to find a place to relocate the elementary students and staff.

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