For several years, the Zaidi family lived at the corner of 24th and Ohio across from Joplin High School. They watched practices on the fields outside their windows. They witnessed the daily stream of students making their way to school each morning. Daughters Sidra and Laela attended the high school and, on pretty days, walked to class. On May 22, 2011, the EF 5 tornado that struck Joplin destroyed their home, their neighborhood, and the high school that had been such a steady symbol of normal life.
Despite their personal losses, Dr. Navid Zaidi, his wife Dr. Tabassum Saba, and their daughters found the time to think of Joplin Schools and generously donated their land at 24th and Ohio. Dr. Saba’s parents also lived with the Zaidi family and loved Joplin High School. The Zaidi’s lot will be incorporated into the overall site plan for the new Joplin High School and Franklin Technology Center.
“It’s a small gift, from neighbor to neighbor, in love and peace,” notes Dr. Zaidi.
“We are very appreciative of the Zaidi family and the donation of their land to Joplin Schools,” says Dr. CJ Huff, superintendent of Joplin Schools. “For them to have suffered so much and yet still consider others is a true inspiration. This donation helps us to move forward with planning for the new high school.
Laela Zaidi's story was featured in our book 5:41: Stories from the Joplin Tornado, and Laela has written a story that will be featured in our upcoming book, Reborn: One Year after the Joplin Tornado.