September 21, 2001
What can we do to help?
That question has been repeated thousands of times throughout the Long Beach Unified School District in the aftermath of the September 11 tragedies in New York and Washington, D.C. Besides flying the flag at half staff, writing checks and donating blood, here are a few of the ways students and staff have chosen to help:
• Cindy Wechsung, third grade specialist at Alvarado, hoped her New York-bound firefighter husband, Scott, could deliver letters from students to rescue personnel in that city. After the letters were written, he was called off the assignment and another firefighter delivered them. The firemen cried when they read the letters, then posted them all on the front of the fire station for New Yorkers to read.
• Friends of Alicia Hofer, a junior at Lakewood, organized a candlelight vigil to comfort their friend and make a patriotic statement. Alicia’s father, John Hofer, was killed in the first plane to strike the World Trade Center.
• Adam Martin, student at Marshall, is washing cars to raise money for the Red Cross. He rides his bike to appointments in East Long Beach or has drivers bring their cars to him. So far he has raised $50.
• Signal Hill kindergartners made thank you banners for the local Red Cross and blood donors. In a few weeks, staff will hold a blood drive. The school was also among many that displayed flags outside each classroom and around the outside of the school.
• Dozens of schools held fund drives to benefit Red Cross and other charities. Stanford’s penny drive is called "Patriotic Pennies." Muir students have raised several hundred dollars. Webster is donating two weeks of nacho and ice cream sales to the Red Cross.
• Many schools observed moments of silence in remembrance of the victims of last Tuesday’s attacks, either this past Friday, on other school days or during Back to School Night assemblies.
• Students in Heather Hall’s kindergarten class at Burnett donated $1,000 they raised for field trips to the cause.
• Five Los Cerritos students raised $151 by selling baked goods and lemonade.
What else can be done? Some schools are sending cards to their local fire station to thank firefighters and paramedics for their lifesaving efforts right here. Schools, students and staff can express gratitude right now to those who protect them every day--police, fire fighters, Red Cross staff. It could have happened here.