Looking Back – Ms. MacNeil

Ms. MacNeil, our Assistant Principal for Student Affairs, was nice enough to take the time to reflect back on one of the most impactful moments of her high school career.


“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into light.”

It was a quiet day in the hallways. The corridors were empty because the school year had just started and everyone was still too nervous to ask to go to the bathroom. I was in Pre-Calc and I needed to stretch my legs; I was either bored with the lesson or had my mind in other places. I raised my hand and asked Mrs. Chen if I could use the bathroom. She looked at me with the most impatient glare and nodded yes. I got up and walked down the hallway. The bathroom was near the Headmaster’s office so I decided to go the long way. While I was walking past my English teacher’s room he called me in. I immediately thought I was in trouble, but he just walked over to the small television he had in his classroom and began watching the news. I decided to do the same. I could tell that he just needed someone else to know what was going on and it just so happened that I was walking by. It took a few minutes to realize what I was watching. It was the news, channel 5 to be exact. The reporter was explaining how a terrible accident just happened in New York and that an airplane, carrying over two hundred people just crashed into the World Trade Center.

I wasn’t sure how to react. We both continued to watch in complete silence. After what seemed like a lifetime, but was in reality only minutes; we watched in horror, as a second plane flew into the second World Trade Center. Tears immediately began to flow down my cheeks. The two of us looked at each other but had no words to share. Panic set in quickly as I started to wonder what was going on. A few moments later my teacher sprinted out of the classroom and ran towards the main office to share what he had just witnessed. I decided to follow him in hopes that someone else would have answers as to what was happening.

The television in the main office was on and everyone was huddled around the small screen. I noticed that I was not the only one with panic and tears in their eyes. A few minutes later the phones began to ring as parents were concerned about their children. The headmaster made a quick decision to continue the school day as planned.

After about a half an hour, school administrators noticed me in the office and shooed me back to class. When I walked back into my math class everyone could see on my face that something was wrong. I told them what I had seen and we all sat in silence.

This was before cell phones were popular and only special classrooms had computers and televisions so we were left to speculate what was going on.

That was a day that I will never forget. The quiet of the hallways, the color of my shoes and the look on my teachers face when he showed me what was happening. I will also never forget that if we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learned life is short and there is no room for hate.


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