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Joplin Diary 2: Miss Karen’s Dance Studio

David Scott, a 1994 graduate of Abilene Christian University, lives in Carthage, Mo., with his wife, Whitney, and their two children. David and Whitney own Whitney Scott Photography, a boutique studio with a number of clients who were affected by the May 22 tornado in nearby Joplin that killed 151 people and injured more than 900.
With her permission, we present the second of a series of five posts this week, shared through Whitney’s photography and words about a few of their friends and the, well, the amazing grace by which they were spared further harm.

Several weeks ago, we had the pleasure of photographing all the dancers from Miss Karen’s Dance Studio in preparation for their big recital. The recital, a beautiful tribute held Saturday night, was in memory of Miss Karen, who died of cancer in January. Her daughter, Nicole, has taken over the studio with such care. So inspiring.

Sunday evening, the studio was completely destroyed.

In a good news update: Following the tornado, students and their parents flocked to the studio for clean-up efforts. Nicole said she has had dance studios from around the country wanting to help out. One studio from Wyoming saw their story on our blog and had a fund-raiser at their recital in a show of support. Nicole is going to continue with the summer dance program in another location and plans to rebuild.
Thank you for the prayers you have said for our community. Thank you for the donations you’ve made or are considering making today. We will be needing both … for quite some time.

The Mount Hope Church of Christ in Webb City, Mo., is serving as a distribution center for those affected by the tornado and is accepting cash donations here.
According to our records, 27 ACU alumni live in or near Joplin: Crista Austin, Kenneth Boles, Francisco Bonilla (Webb City, Mo.), Treavis Broaddus (Webb City, Mo.), Denny Brummett (Sarcoxie, Mo.), Gerald Chrisman (Carthage, Mo.), Maureen Dunaway (Carthage, Mo.), Josh Edwards, Dr. Carolyn Hale (Saginaw, Mo.), Mike Kelly, Dr. Tom Lawson (Webb City, Mo.), Ralph and Sheri Madill (Carthage, Mo.), Nick Meyer (Carl Junction, Mo.), Jim and Donna Murray (Diamond, Mo.), Anna Radomsky, Paula Roberts, Mark Smith (Carthage, Mo.), Julie Williams, Jay Young (Webb City, Mo.). We’d like to know they are well, so if you have news from them, please share it here or by emailing
Through reader response to this series, we have heard that Dr. Gary Zustiak (Joplin), Valenda Moore (Carthage, Mo.),  Jeanie Cline (Carthage, Mo.) and Paul Cline (Carthage, Mo.) are safe.

  • Monday – Joplin Diary 1: Picking up the pieces of life
  • Tuesday – Joplin Diary 2: Miss Karen’s Dance Studio
  • Wednesday – Joplin Diary 3: “I lost my selfishness”
  • Thursday – Joplin Diary 4: You can see Jesus everywhere
  • Friday – Joplin Diary 5: Redefining “an act of God”