(CNN Student News) -- August 17, 2011
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It's Wednesday, my name is Carl Azuz, and this is CNN Student News! Thank you for spending part of your day with us. First up today, we're hitting the road.
First Up: Politics on the Road
AZUZ: That's where you'll find a lot of people who are part of the 2012 U.S. presidential election, or who will be. Now, that election is not going to happen until November 6th of next year. But these folks -- especially the Republican candidates -- want to get their names out there and gather support now, because when the calendar turns 2012, we'll be at the start of primary season.
That is when states hold elections or meetings to determine which candidates they're going to support. It happens for each party. Republican primaries will determine who's going to be nominated to face off against President Obama in the general election next November. He'll be nominated again by the Democrats. And that's where we're going as a country.
But where are these candidates now? They're in some of the states that come first on the primary calendar. Republican U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann is on a three-day tour of South Carolina this week. Former Massachusetts Republican Governor Mitt Romney is up in New Hampshire. And Texas Governor Rick Perry -- who just recently joined the race for the Republican nomination -- is in Iowa. How about President Obama, who will be running for re-election next year? He's on the road, too. He was also in Iowa yesterday, scheduled to be in his home state of Illinois today.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: It's your Word Scramble of the day! It's a type of currency. Last chance! EURO!
AZUZ: The Euro is the official currency of more than half of the countries in the European Union. The Euro was introduced in 1999. It's used by more than 320 million people in 17 nations. But a lot of those countries are struggling economically, and that is bad news for the Euro.
Yesterday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy met to talk about ways to try to help the Euro. Germany and France have the two most powerful economies in Europe. But those economies are having problems as well, and some experts say that could limit how much of an impact these two leaders can make. They want all countries that use the Euro to spend only what they can afford instead of borrowing money to pay off a lot of bills.
RACHEL NEFF, JOPLIN TORNADO SURVIVOR: You could hear the home shaking. Everything busting out. We got down. He was between me; Zach was hunched over us and we were just, you know, praying, screaming and, you know, it was very loud and it all happened so fast. It seemed like forever, but it happened very fast.
Learning in a Disaster Zone
AZUZ: Those folks were talking about this massive tornado that tore through the city of Joplin, Missouri in May. It was the deadliest single tornado in the United States in more than 60 years, and it left huge parts of the city in ruins. Joplin and its residents are still recovering, but life for some is slowly returning to normal. For example, today's the first day of school for Joplin's students. But even that -- going to school -- has changed drastically since the storm. Shannon Travis was in Joplin recently. He took a look at what it's like to learn in a disaster zone.
SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They hope to be typical kids again after an unimaginable hell. Children and teenagers coping after the country's single deadliest tornado.
LYDIA MCALLISTER, SENIOR, JOPLIN HIGH SCHOOL: Every time I drive by it, it's still really sad. All the memories and all the friends that I made in these halllways.
YAINER OVIEDO, SENIOR, JOPLIN HIGH SCHOOL: Sad knowing that you won't be able to spend your last year of high school here.
SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: School surveillance video shows the tornado reducing two schools to virtually nothing. In minutes, 10 school buildings were damaged or destroyed, including Joplin's only high school.
DR. C.J. HUFF, JOPLIN SCHOOLS, SUPERINTENDENT: That next morning we came to the realization we had 54 percent of our kids who had no place to go, about 4,200 out of 7,747.
TRAVIS: This new school year, high school students will split up. Ninth and 10th graders will go to an existing middle school. The upper-classmen will attend classes at this mall. Yes, it's a mall. Ninety-five thousand square feet, a cost of $5.5 million to convert an old retail store. Officials say it was the only place big enough. Rising seniors Yainer Oviedo and Lydia McAllister accompanied me to their new, 21st century school. It has open spaces, walls that move.
CHAD GREER, LEAD ARCHITECT, CGA ARCHITECTURE PLANNING DESIGN: The entire space can be opened up into one larger, collaborative space.
OVIEDO: That's really cool how they have it as a dry erase board as well.
TRAVIS: A fitness center, and a coffee shop run by the students. Every one of these kids will get laptops. But how will students focus on learning? Doctor Syed Husain is a professor at the University of Missouri. A child psychologist, he's been to over 80 disaster zones. He helps children learn, even when death and disaster surround them.
DR. SYED A. HUSAIN, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI HEALTH CARE: When that kid or person is saying, "I don't want to hear about it anymore," what is going on there? Avoidance! We are training teachers as therapists.
TRAVIS: Husain says children learning in any disaster zone can suffer declining grades, depression, flashbacks and nightmares. They will get help.
OVIEDO: I don't know how someone my age goes through something like this without having problems.
TRAVIS: And yet, this entire community wants the children to be children again.
So, this is it. This is the moment right here that a lot of these children have been waiting for. This is the freshman kickoff. A lot of these kids are right here; you'll hear them kind of rallying right now. They're excited and, basically, they want to put the memory of the storm behind them, although a lot of their personal lives may still be in turmoil. For Education Overtime, I'm Shannon Travis.
AZUZ: This would be a good subject for our blog, From A to Z with Carl Azuz. This is where we ask your opinions on some of the stories we cover on the show. And what we'd like to know today is if you had the chance to talk to some of those students in Joplin, what would you ask them? What would you want to know about this new -- and unique -- school year for them? You can access our blog from our front page, CNNStudentNews.com. One thing we want you to remember, though: We only want you to tell us your first names. The rule: first names only on our blog. We look forward to reading what you have to say.
Focus on Health
AZUZ: You hear childhood obesity discussed a lot in the news. That is because it's increased so much in recent decades. Roughly one in five Americans between the ages of six and 19 is considered to be obese. One factor there is that it's generally cheaper to eat high-calorie foods. Dr. Sanjay Gupta visited a school that's changed its menu and its schedule, trying to give kids a taste for healthier options and the time to burn calories.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Northeast Elementary School in Danville, Illinois: the kids here eat healthy foods.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE STUDENT, NORTHEAST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: We had chicken sandwich and apples.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE STUDENT, NORTHEAST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Yogurt.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE STUDENT, NORTHEAST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Fruit and juice.
GUPTA: When she got hired, the school board told Principal McIntire, make health a priority.
CHERYL MCINTIRE, PRINCIPAL, NORTHEAST ELEMENTARY MAGNET SCHOOL: We had lots of fried food. We had a lot of processed food. Now, nothing is fried. We have to have fish several times a month. We have fresh fruit and vegetables at every lunch.
GUPTA: And there are also 30-minute phys. ed. classes every single day. Kids take yoga breaks during class, and the annual fundraising event that used to be a bake sale, it's now a one-mile walk. All these changes made Northeast the first elementary school in the country to earn a Gold Award from the nonprofit group Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which was cofounded by the Clinton Foundation. And the changes at school are changing habits at home as well.
MCINTIRE: They are going home and talking to their parents about the new things that they have tried and tasted at school, and encouraging their parents to buy it at home.
GUPTA: Because you said these students are sort of a mirror of the community at large?
MCINTIRE: They are. And the word has gotten out that this is what we have to offer here, and parents have come to us wanting that for their children.
GUPTA: Heart disease is America's number one killer and the risks, well, they start right here. Northeast Elementary is one of a growing number of schools fighting back and pointing the way toward a healthier future.
Before We Go
AZUZ: All right, before we go, we've got a wedding proposal with a twist. When this guy popped the question, it came with an extra word. "Will you marry me... now?" It turned out he had the entire wedding already set up. He had the guests, the cake, even the bride's dress! He'd been planning the surprise for a year, and he did this by sneaking in questions here and there to make sure he had all the details right as far as his bride was concerned. It's a good thing he paid close attention to what she had to say.
AZUZ: Otherwise, he might have had to altar his plans at the last minute. Okay, that pun was all right, but we're not married to it. We do propose that you come back tomorrow for more CNN Student News, though. Hope to see you then.