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Making Their Mark

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Past as Prologue

Explore Haystack, a portal to the history of Colby-Sawyer College.

Colby-Sawyer Courier

Keep up with campus news from students' perspectives through the Colby-Sawyer Courier.


This new literary magazine features creative writing in many genres by current students and alumni, faculty and staff, and a few friends and partners.


Find out what Colby-Sawyer alumni have been up to since graduation.

Currents: memories of 9-11

Colby-Sawyer College students in Writing 105 last fall participated in a contest for the best examples of research papers and essays completed for this class. The contest, sponsored jointly by the Wesson Honors and Liberal Education Programs, offers prizes of $125, $100 and $75 respectively. Three winners were selected (by Writing 105 faculty and Currents staff). In this issue of Currents, we feature one of the winning pieces, an essay by first-year student Katelyn Stravinsky.

My September 11th

By Katelyn Stravinsky '11

9:40 a.m. “Okay everyone. We're going to have a meeting in the cafeteria now. Try to be quiet in the halls,” my social studies teacher states. I look at him, not listening at all. He's a heavy-set man and is sweating more than usual today. Everyone knows better than to make fun of him because he is an 8th grade girl's father, and well, we all know better than to get in trouble with an upperclassman.

I slowly get up, waiting for my friend Liz to walk in the halls with her. Liz always tries to make everyone laugh, so she makes some jokes while we're in the hallways about what the meeting could be about. Ideas float around about who's in trouble or how someone even kicked a hole in a wall.

We make our way through the corridors, which are my past elementary school halls. Our middle school is being re-built; grades six through eight are oddly placed in Cole Elementary School for the time being. I can still see the tape on the walls from where previous pieces of art work had been hung. The stairwells, built for children who are only four feet tall, are now housing hundreds of adolescents making their way to the cafeteria.

I pass teachers who seem more depressed to be in school than the students, which is a rarity. I get to the first floor, and pass my former bathroom. A boy comes out of the bathroom exclaiming, “Have you guys SEEN how small everything in there is?! I could barely reach down to the sink!” Everyone laughs and understands the adjustment to using bathroom sinks and toilets meant for a seven-year-old.

9:44 a.m. Turning the corner to the final stretch of hallway to the cafeteria, teachers are standing in groups talking quietly. I meet up with my best friend, Sam, and she seems particularly worried about something. “I think something bad happened in New York,” she says. “I heard some of the teachers talking.”

I don't act concerned; I've never even been to New York. I nod, but why would I care? I follow a kid's shoes in front of me, and accidentally step on the back of his foot. He seems annoyed, but at this point, everyone in the hall is losing their patience as the entire school is making its way into the cafeteria through one tiny door. I finally make it to the door of the cafeteria, and the kid in front of me asks, “Do we need to sit with our class?” The teacher responds, “No, it doesn't matter. Just please file in quickly.”

I sit down with Sam at a long, beige table, which still shows some lettuce from yesterday's lunch. I try to get comfortable, which is impossible, and in the process even find myself touching a wad of gum under the seat. “Great,” I say to myself. The dining hall is filled with commotion as our principal, Mr. Austin, stands in the middle of the giant room, staring at something in front of him as if he was trying to find words to say. The cafeteria gets quiet.

“Planes have crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City,” he says. “We will now have a moment of silence.” Some of the students clearly have a complete understanding of what the World Trade Center is and are in a state of disbelief. Others are talking, ignoring the news, or still joking around. Mr. Austin doesn't care; he gives the 12-year-old boys his usual death stare, but holds back any screaming or distributions of detentions. The moment of silence ends, but all of us are still sitting there searching for something to say to the person next to us.

9:48 a.m. Sam starts panicking. “My dad is away on business, he works in elevators! What if he died? I don't even know where he is.” I try to comfort her, but I can't help that much. I'm excited; something was going on to talk about. I want to feel bad, but no emotion comes. “So, what is the World Trade Center?” I ask Sam. “It's two towers in New York City,” she explains. I'm taken aback by her tone and even get mad at her a little.

My mind drifts from the news of the attacks to how much I hate the cafeteria. I never bought my lunch there. I had my mom make me a sandwich with junk food as a snack; it wasn't always healthy, but I ate it.

I was already excited to eat my lunch for the day. I look around and everyone is starting to talk. I look at the floor for answers after our principal's announcement. I look at the wall for answers. I even try to figure out what the World Trade Center is by getting a mental picture of the Statue of Liberty in my mind; maybe that will miraculously jog my memory.

9:50 a.m. We are all told to go to our fourth period class. We file out of the cafeteria loud and obnoxious. I soon find out that one of the 8th grader's father was on one of the planes. I feel awful for him and his family, but that is the closest that the tragedy comes to affecting me.

I go to get my books for my next class. Some people are crying in the halls. Other people, like me, are treating this as a small detail to their day. The teachers are trying to get all the kids under control, but many are taking this interruption in the day as a social hour. I avoid the loud boys, the dramatic girls, and enter my next class.

9:55 a.m. Some of the teachers decide to show some of the video footage which is displayed on virtually every channel. I hope that I am able to see some of anything on TV, but my next teacher left me to suffer with my confusion and questions regarding the events. I sit down in an old chair that gives me splinters and decide the best thing I can do for the rest of the day is forget about the incident. I listen to a lecture from our teacher.

“I understand if anyone does not want to do work today. If you would like to talk to a guidance counselor, please go right on down. But for the rest of us, we will go over last night's homework.” I get out my homework and agenda, marking that my birthday is in exactly 16 days.

Katelyn Stravinsky of Norwell, Mass., intends to be a Sports Management major at Colby-Sawyer. She is a member of the Chargers women's basketball team.