School Marks Year Since Tornado

During a special Chapel service on October 20, 2020, St. Mark’s observed an anniversary that will forever be etched into the School’s history. One year ago, an EF-3 tornado passed directly through campus, causing immense damage to buildings, trees, and equipment. In the weeks and months that followed, the St. Mark’s community faced incredible challenges with resilience and determination.

Eugene McDermott Headmaster David W. Dini addressed the school community via livestream from the Chapel: “In the past year, we’ve not only navigated the impact of the tornado, but also the ongoing challenges of a global pandemic. And yet, our community continues to thrive. The uplifting stories of resilience, determination, and compassion are constant reminders of what a wonderful community we have.”

While images of the destruction were heartbreaking, stories of the community’s response were simply inspiring. St. Mark’s families came to each other’s aid, and students spent their days helping clear debris in the neighborhood and delivering food and supplies to families and workers. The wellspring of community support extended beyond 10600 Preston Road. With St. Mark’s Homecoming scheduled the Friday following the tornado, The Hockaday School and Greenhill School donated the use of their athletic facilities for the Lions to hold their volleyball and football games.

“We were cognizant that others in our community needed help and so we began our outreach to other communities,” Sam Ahmed ’20 said in the Winter 2020 issue of The Pride community magazine. “Thousands of other homes across the Dallas area were destroyed, and Marksmen made sure to do their best to take care of their greater community.”

In the year following the tornado, the St. Mark’s community has endured and overcome a wave of challenges. Although many of the School’s athletic facilities were damaged, the Lions went on to claim four trophies at the Fall and Winter SPC Championships. Then, in March, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread, St. Mark’s transitioned to remote learning for the remainder of the 2019­–2020 year. It would be another 180 days before students and teachers returned to campus under strict health and safety restrictions.

“Our path forward this year has certainly not been easy, and it will likely remain challenging for some time,” Mr. Dini said. “However, most things in life that are lasting, meaningful, and important require patience, resilience, and dedication. Thanks to the dedication and sacrifice of many who have poured their hearts and souls into this School over time, our foundation is strong and it provides reassurance that we can and will see our way through whatever challenges come our way.”

Click below to watch a special video retrospective of the past year.
St. Mark's School of Texas
10600 Preston Road
Dallas, TX 75230-4047