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Remembering and rebuilding in Joplin, Missouri, a year after the tornado struck

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Camryn Dean,7, plays on a pile of dirt behind her mother's rebuilt home in the heart of what was once nothing but debris and destroyed homes after a tornado hit the neighborhood almost one year ago, in Joplin, Missouri.

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The Joplin High School sign is seen in front of the rubble of the school after the letters H and E were placed on it reading "Hope." The town is still rebuilding one year after the catastrophic tornado hit the town of Joplin, Missouri. Tuesday will mark the one-year anniversary of the EF-5 tornado that devastated the town.

Monday night, President Barack Obama is set to speak at Joplin High School’s commencement ceremony, nearly one year after a tornado stuck the town, wiping out 7,500 buildings, including the High School, and killing 161. On May 22, 2011, two high school students were killed as the tornado hit, a senior returning from graduation -- pulled through the sunroof of his car -- and a freshman also in a vehicle. Since that tragic day, students have been attending classes in makeshift structures spread across town.  On Tuesday, they will symbolically break ground on three new schools which they hope to be complete by 2014.

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(Left to right) Morgan Osburn, David Hoosier and Kim Hoosier spend a quiet moment together in front of a memorial built for their friend Lance Hare who was killed when the town was hit by a tornado in Joplin, Missouri.

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Pastor Kathy Redpath gives communion during a service in a temporary tent set up by the Peace Lutheran Church next to their church that that was destroyed when a tornado hit almost one year ago in Joplin, Missouri.

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The foundations of homes are all that remain after the debris has been cleared following the catastrophic tornado that hit almost one year ago in Joplin, Missouri.

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Zac Bronson and his son, Nolan Bronson, plant trees in the front lawn of their new home which he built after his former home was destroyed when a tornado struck last year in Joplin, Missouri.

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Camryn Dean, 7, plays in the newly built tornado shelter behind her mother's rebuilt home in the heart of what was once nothing but debris and destroyed homes after a tornado hit the neighborhood almost one year ago in Joplin, Missouri.

The rebuilding effort has been aided by thousands of volunteers and donations and support from far and near. Of the 553 businesses destroyed, 446 have reopened. The shell of what used to be the hospital still stands, though it has already been replaced by a new facility. Work has been ongoing to rebuild homes lost to the storm, but the area is speckled with empty lots and many still have no place to live.