Students commemorated the anniversary of September 11th with a Call for Community Service
On Tuesday, BL's Middle and Upper Schools commemorated the seventeenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks with a program in Iglehardt Center. As in previous years, proceedings included a recap of the events of that tragic day, and ended with a moment of silence for those lost. This year, however, the theme of the day was Unity through Service; each speaker urged the audience to emulate the spirit of the first responders by helping the community in any way possible.
After a greeting from upper school librarian Claire Ricci, one of the event's main organizers, history teacher Matt Welch addressed the group of more than five hundred students and faculty. "To truly honor the fallen victims of 9/11, and the heroes that died trying to save them, we must commit ourselves to doing more to help our community and country," said Mr. Welch, towards the end of his remarks. He concluded with a call to action: "Starting this Patriot Day let's challenge ourselves as a community to make our broader common purpose service to others--and let’s do so at a level we’ve never done before."
Upper School English teacher Stephanie Fenstermaker evoked the memory of her family members who had served in Desert Storm, in Korea, and in WWII. She also echoed Mr. Welch's endorsement of community service. "Organize a park clean-up or an adopt-a-highway event to show your love and support for the natural characteristics of our country," she urged, adding that acts like these, while not "flashy and sparkly... still display patriotism through your love and support of our neighbors and our natural spaces."
Several students spoke about their work in the community. Senior Price Marlowe spoke about his efforts to restore and beautify parts of Hampton Historic Site in Towson, a plantation and mansion that now serve as a museum. Senior Xander Mtimet, meanwhile, spoke of his volunteer work at York County Libraries in Pennsylvania.
Three juniors, Joey Lorenz, Gerald Watson and Emre Yavalar, followed with some words about their service learning trip to Puerto Rico last summer, in which they helped convert a small town's abandoned school into a community center. "I have always been a person who loves to help people, and I wanted to change the world for the better," said Gerald, "So when I found out about the Puerto Rico trip, I immediately said I wanted to go because I felt like I could accomplish both."
Headmaster Post concluded proceedings with some brief remarks, followed by a moment of silence. The program's optimistic message resonated with students and faculty. "It was a great way for students to come to a recognition of their patriotism through the service they're doing now," said Ms. Ricci, "And I thought it was awesome to hear the boys share their experiences with each other."