By Steve Pickett

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WAXAHACHIE (CBS11) – In room 104 of Dallas ISD’s Greiner Middle School, the Business and Finance teacher welcomes his students back for the spring semester.

Steve Thomas has a special presentation for the 8th graders. “I call it 12-26, the day a tornado hit,” Thomas tells his students. The teacher informs the youngsters of the damage he and others in his Waxahachie neighborhood faced when twisters tore through several North Texas towns.

But Thomas has decided his story will be a “Life Happens” lesson for his students. “I’m not a victim. I’m a conqueror. I’m going to win over this tornado,” he exclaims while narrating a self-made video presentation produced for his classes. “I have my family. Home is the family,” he says.

The teacher said he was inspired to pass a message of perseverance toward his students after searching for a hotel. A hotel staffer used the word “victim” to describe guests. “I want my students to know you can be anything, you can go to any school you want, and if you have a setback like a tornado, that doesn’t give you an excuse,” he said.

Thomas asked students to write down examples of overcoming adversity or defeating a challenge.

“A lot of these students are economically disadvantaged, so they come with challenges in their lives. And I want to reassure them that you can be anything you want, and a setback like a tornado doesn’t give you an excuse.”

13-year old Michelle Hernandez sat on the front row with three others. She would normally get a lesson about starting a business.

Today, her teacher told her the tornado lesson.

“He said move forward, don’t look back.”

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