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Publication Date: Wednesday, September 11, 2002

School observances range widely School observances range widely (September 11, 2002)

By David Boyce

Almanac Staff Writer

While many elementary schools have plans to remember the events of September 11, school officials have said that they want to avoid stirring up emotions unnecessarily. "Children come at this from a different place," said Sarah Ross, the community outreach director at Trinity School in Menlo Park. "They've moved on."

Some high schools, such as Woodside, are planning simple remembrances to "note the support that the students gave each other and how much they cared for each other," said Woodside Principal Linda Common. Other high schools are planning extensive school-wide memorials, including a weeklong classroom discussions and structured sessions to talk about aspects of the terrorist attacks.
Elementary schools

Some elementary schools have no specific plans, such as at Las Lomitas and Phillips Brooks. At Woodland School in Portola Valley, the flag will fly at half-mast and there will be a moment of silence during the morning assembly, staff members said.

Ms. Ross at Trinity said that on Wednesday, the school will go through its routine with slight variations to focus on the common religious roots of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. She said the daily Biblical story during the morning chapel session will be about Abraham, a figure from all three religious traditions. She added that she expects the students' suggested prayers after the story to address the terrorist attacks of last year.

Woodside School's Principal John Harter said they're working on a school-wide program that will be "relatively low key and appropriate for an elementary school with children as young as [those in] kindergarten."

At Encinal and Oak Knoll schools in Menlo Park, both of which teach fifth-graders or younger, staff members said they plan to invite police and firefighters to a morning ceremony with the students at which they will raise the flag, recite the pledge of allegiance and sing patriotic songs. At Encinal, students will also plant flowers around the base of the school's flagpole, staff members said.

Student adviser Steve Gallagher, at La Entrada middle school in Menlo Park, said the students and staff are planning a somewhat elaborate memorial, beginning with a moment of silence at 10:30 a.m., about the time the second World Trade Center tower fell. The school's student-run TV station will then broadcast a montage, with musical accompaniment, of images from around the world of people mourning the terrorist attacks, Mr. Gallagher said.
High schools

Woodside High School has simple formal plans with flexibility to cope with the day as it unfolds. The flag will be flown at half-mast, there will be a moment of silence and teachers will read a statement of remembrance, Principal Common said. She said it will be up to teachers and students to decide whether to discuss the terrorist attacks during class time.

At Menlo-Atherton High School, U.S. history teacher Mike Amoroso said that the events of last September 11 will be the topic of discussion in his classes for the entire week. The school may have other events on that day for which plans were not made available before press time.

At Woodside Priory, a private high school in Portola Valley, the Rev. Martin Mager will conduct a special mid-morning Mass in the campus chapel and will talk on the subject of peace, said campus minister Therese Inkmann. Students will carry in the school's peace pole during the Mass and will have available to them lapel buttons that say "peace" in seven languages, Ms. Inkmann said.

At Menlo School, Cindy Lapolla, the student services coordinator, said students and teachers are planning an all-school assembly Wednesday morning that will include chamber music by the school's orchestra, singing and an open-mike period, followed by structured break-out sessions during lunch to allow students to talk about specific topics. The students are also planning a community service project, Ms. Lapolla said.

"I'm very proud of our students and their mature and very involved attitude in terms of wanting to be respectful and to honor that there are a lot of different feelings around the event," Ms. Lapolla said.
Talking to kids

The Children's Health Council is offering parents a free telephone hotline with advice on how to speak to their children about the anniversary of September 11. Clinicians from the council, a Palo Alto-based children's mental health agency, will staff the hotline September 11 through 13, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The toll-free number is 1-866-CHC-6789.


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