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Communications & Government Relations

Message for Patriot Day

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A Message from the Superintendent of Schools

I remember...

That morning, when the news came, I was at work as an assistant principal of a middle school.
Stunned, I watched as images of our country under attack were broadcast live. I remember
that day.

I walked through classrooms that should have been chatty and busy but had fallen
completely silent. Our noisy, bustling campus was suddenly still - everyone seated and faces
upturned. I remember that day.

Tears followed shock and fear came soon after. As a nation, a community and a school, we
watched the very worst of humanity and that morning, we experienced it along with 700
students. What would we say to them?

Through their own shock and sadness, I remember how teachers found a way to bring
comfort to their students and their colleagues. Teachers like to have the answers but on that
day, there were none. Instead, our teachers listened, they cried and they promised their
students that they were safe and they were loved. It’s all we had to offer.

Classrooms can be such special places. They are where teachers and students engage in
discovery and grow in their understanding of concepts, facts and ideas. On that morning,
those classrooms became sanctuaries from despair and for many days after, they were places
where the conversation was thoughtful, tender and much needed. I do remember that day.

As our country came to understand more about the events of that day, pictures of first
responders at work and stories of those who lost their lives slowly replaced images of falling
towers. Though we grieved, we knew that attack would not divide us but would bring us
together. We were united by a renewed sense of pride, by the courage from so many people
doing their part to help and by mustering our collective determination, we were able to heal.
That is the defining spirit of America, isn’t it?

I do remember that day in 2001. And, I always will.

John Stratton