St. Brigid/Our Lady of Hope Regional School
In response to the attack on the World Trade Center we have done the following:
At 1:00 p.m. on September 11th, all the children and teachers gathered in the school Chapel for a prayer service led by our pastor, Fr. Ralph Sommer. We prayed for the victims of the attacks, the rescue workers, fire fighters, police, and medical personnel. We also asked for understanding and tolerance toward the people in our communities who might be prejudiced against because of their ethnic background.
We asked the families in our school to bring in donations - water, socks, underwear, flashlights, boots, etc. to bring to the rescue workers at ground zero. We also collected monetary donations for the families of the victims. Some of the children set up a lemonade stand to help raise money for the Red Cross.
All day Sunday, September 23rd. and Monday night, Dr. Jennifer Gallagher (Middle School Assistant Principal) and the Youth Social Action Group organized a cardmaking project. Hundreds of cards were made for the rescue workers at ground zero and for the families of the victims.
The days ahead will be difficult for all of us. Our hearts and prayers go out to those who have lost loved ones.
Westbury Friends School
1. Children made cookies and cards to send to rescue workers.
2. Second grade students sent letters to the rescue workers.
3. Parents collected supplies to bring to ground zero site.
Our community was shaken early in the morning of September 11th, as families, who were dropping off their preschoolers, came to tell us that something was happening in lower Manhattan. The school immediately began the process of responding to the disaster by inviting those parents who wanted to stay to remain with the administrative staff as news became clearer. Many families came together at the school to console each other, share information and ask about others from the school community.
As the day wore on and what had happened became clearer the impact of this disaster on our school came into focus. Many who were feared lost had made it out. Several had not.
We came together on Wednesday morning to share a Meeting-for-Worship, which is a traditional Quaker service (grades 1-6). During the Meeting the children were reading passages from the Bible and other materials to help explain what had happened to our country. After the Meeting the students returned to their classrooms to continue an open dialogue geared to their developmental readiness. That afternoon the After School program had the children bake cookies and place them in bags decorated with messages of thanks and encouragement for the rescuers in lower Manhattan.
At Back to School night, which was held as scheduled on Thursday evening September 13th, the teachers began their presentation with a moment of silence, a first step in any Quaker meeting. Some teachers opened their conversation with the parents by asking them to share something about themselves that they are passionate about. We realized, more than ever, that time is precious and that we could only benefit by getting to know each other better. Teachers have continued to talk to the students about the event in an age appropriate level. Many have given their students the opportunity to express how they feel through journal writing, art, and music. Some have written letters to the rescuers that are being sent to them through the FEMA offices in New York.
The school is continuing to look for ways to support the parents and children of Westbury Friends School. On Friday, September 28th, the staff will meet with an expert in conflict resolution to find additional paths toward healing our shattered trust in the world. Much as the "war on terrorism" is said to be a long journey, so too will ours at home and at school.