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.