DALLAS — We're just five weeks away before a new state-of-the-art Thomas Jefferson High School reopens!
The Dallas ISD school was destroyed by an EF-3 tornado three years ago.
When students return on Jan. 9, it will be bigger and better.
The seniors who were freshman in 2019 will see the transformation firsthand.
And for all TJ alumnus, you can be a part of this historic reopening by donating a brick or stone in the new "TJ Legacy Walkway."
It's a brick walkway that will be made up entirely of donated bricks and stones.
The idea behind it was to give the school a sense of its history by allowing students from years past to tell their story in a unique way.
Don Wiley, chair of the TJ Legacy Walkway, TJ Alumni Association board member and proud graduate of TJ class of 1972, helped lead the effort.
"The Legacy Walk is both a witness to TJ's past greatness and an invitation to a bold future. With the TJ Excellence Fund, raised from the proceeds of the brick sales, TJ alums and their families will be able to remember beloved friends, teachers and parents and lift up current students. Hear our proud voices!" he said in an interview with WFAA.
Each donation will be permanently acknowledged and will make a difference in the lives of current and future students through the new TJ Excellence Fund, created by the TJ Alumni Association.
The goal -- to take TJ to the highest level of academic achievement.
Missy Huber, president of the Thomas Jefferson HS Alumni Association and also a proud graduate of the class of 1972, said since 1956 TJ has been rich in treasured traditions and pride.
"The TJ Legacy Walk symbolizes the opportunity to honor our past while moving forward with a bright future. TJ STONG!" said Huber.
The alumni association prides itself in giving back to the school that gave so much to them.
Nina Castro, the Thomas Jefferson HS Alumni chair of family services and proud graduate of the class of 1997, said it's all about a pathway from the past to the future.
Castro has donated hundreds of volunteer hours to make this historic opening the best it can be.
She said it's personal.
"Growing up, I always looked forward to attending my local neighborhood high school. TJ has had a long-standing tradition of school spirit and community involvement," Castro said. "I wanted to show the current TJ students the history of our beloved school from the very beginning in 1956, all the way through the tornado of 2019. My hope is that it will boost their curiosity in the way that things were, so that, moving forward they can uphold some of those traditions."
A lesson in giving back from people who never forgot where they came from. That's what you call TJ Strong.
I, too, am an alum of Thomas Jefferson HS -- class of 1993!
For more information on the TJ Legacy Walkway, go to tjdallasalum.org.