It was a label they sought both to embrace and avoid, a refrain overheard in whispers or uttered bluntly at soccer games, summer camps and national academic competitions: Here come the tornado kids from Joplin.

For the 428 members of Joplin High School’s Class of 2012, Monday night’s graduation – featuring a commencement speech by President Barack Obama – caps a senior year marked by tragedy, turmoil and perseverance.
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