The project, launched in 2010, commemorated the fortieth anniversary of the 1970 tornado that tore through Lubbock. Under the direction of City staff members and LISD faculty, high school students recorded over a dozen oral history interviews with tornado survivors. The interviews were video recorded in the LISD TV studio. The resulting documentary combines clips of the interviews with still photos and a chronological narrative to tell the story of the tornado, its aftermath, and the rebuilding efforts that followed.
City staff members selected the interviewees, which included victims, first responders, and government officials. Although only brief clips of the oral histories appear in the documentary video, each individual's story was recorded in its entirety. Participants signed agreement forms prepared by the city's legal department that provided for the open use of the interviews by the City and LISD.
The LISD TV channel aired the documentary for several weeks in the spring of 2010. In addition, the City created a website commemorating the tornado anniversary and made accessible the videotaped interviews. The website also features tornado studies and emergency preparedness information, hundreds of photographs, and a page where people may submit their own stories and read about others' experiences of the tornado. The website and oral history videos remain a permanent part of the City's online resources. Archival copies of all the interviews and the documentary are located in the Lubbock City Hall.
The partnership between the City of Lubbock and LISD TV to create "The Day That Changed the Face of Lubbock" serves as a model for other local history projects. Students enrolled in the LISD TV technology courses benefitted from the hands-on experience gained during the production of the documentary, and the documentary itself serves as an educational and informative tool for students and the general public. Ultimately, wrote the historical commission in its nomination, the value of the project may be measured not only by its educational functions but also by its role in the preservation of local history.