MOORE, Oklahoma (NBC NEWS) -- Clean up continues in the Moore, Oklahoma as residents and volunteers work to clear debris and salvage what they can.
The community is grappling with their significant loss of 24 neighbors, but there are some signs of hope and resilience as well.
On Thursday mourners buried the first of seven students, 9-year-old Antonia Candelaria, killed at Plaza Towers Elementary School.
Those who survived expressed gratitude for the teachers and staff who put themselves at risk protecting children.
"I'm never going to have anything - or any words to repay her for what she did. You know she threw herself on my daughter to protect her," said one mom. "There were other parents screaming their kids' names just like I was, and they didn't have any responses, and my heart just goes out to them, because I couldn't' imagine what it would feel like to not have my son go, 'Hey mom, I'm here I'm okay'."
Students from the second damaged school, Briarwood Elementary, gathered Thursday for a final assembly and a chance at closure.
President Obama is scheduled to visit the ravaged community Sunday.
He will tour the 17 mile path of destroyed homes and businesses and meet with first responders.