ENTERPRISE, Ala. (AP) - Residents of Enterprise, the Alabama city devastated by a tornado that killed eight high school students, paused from recovery efforts Sunday to mourn at church services.
Some lined up to hug and offer words of encouragement for the school superintendent.
First Baptist Church parishioners gave Superintendent Jim Reese a standing ovation after the pastor thanked him for his service to the community.
Some in the city wondered whether officials at Enterprise High School erred by not sending students home early on Thursday after they learned of the tornado warnings. Instead, students waited hours, and the storm hit the school.
School officials said they had no chance to evacuate earlier because of the approaching severe weather. And others said the carnage would have been greater if students had been outside or on the road when the storm hit.
At the church, a line formed of people waiting to hug Reese, shake his hand or offer words of encouragement.
Reese told The Associated Press he's "just never been so proud of a group of people, referring to the "many heroes" at the high school.
Schools in Enterprise won't open this week, but Reese said he's doing everything he can to ensure that high school students have a space to hold classes as soon as possible.
Funerals for some of the students will be held Monday and Tuesday, while arrangements for the others are still being made.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)