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Sylvia was a schoolteacher in the 9th Ward before Hurricane Katrina. The Oprah Show cameras followed her back to see the devastation for the first time after the storm hit. "I can't even recognize which way to turn," Sylvia says through tears.

She finds her school completely destroyed and wanders the bare halls. "I just hope that most of the students made it out. I know that some didn't, but I'm hoping that most did," she says.

One child who did make it was Sylvia's 11-year-old son, Chester. After the storm, Chester lived with his father hundreds of miles away as she searched for work and a place to live. They were separated for nine long months.

"The hardest part was not being with my son. He called me one day and said, 'Mom, I need you to help me with my homewwork.' And I tried to help him over the phone," she says.
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FROM: Matthew McConaughey, Eva Longoria and Bon Jovi
Published on September 20, 2006

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