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Imperial Valley schools hold ceremonies honoring terrorist victims

September 16, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

The mood was decidedly somber Friday as students and staff across the Imperial Valley held school ceremonies of respect and remembrance for the victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

At Central Union High School in El Centro, silent students filled the central courtyard, many holding American flags.

"Our prayers and thoughts are with those and the families of those who have lost their lives," said Central Union High School District Superintendent Richard Fragale.

Principal Emma Jones, in a voice shaking with emotion, read a fax sent by Central's sister school in Germany. The German principal said his school felt disbelief, horror and sadness at seeing the pictures of the destruction in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.

As a single trumpet player from the school band sounded out the notes of "Taps," students returned to their classes as quietly as they'd left them.

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"It makes me feel sad," said senior Favyola Alvarez.

"When I saw the news I started crying. I don't want to get into a third world war," Favyola, 17, said.

The day's ceremony, part of a presidentially declared day of remembrance, left Favyola with some hope.

"I hope we can get in peace," she said.

Similar assemblies were conducted at schools all over Imperial County.

Imperial Valley College students initiated their own remembrance ceremony.

IVC President Gilbert Dominguez said students contacted administrators requesting a ceremony Friday morning when they thought they'd reach the greatest number of students and staff.

The event was a good way for students to release some emotions the tragedy has created in them, Dominguez said.

"Many of these students have never seen a crisis like this week," Dominguez said.

"I think some students are still confused about the issue," he said.

In the end, the ceremony was positive for students grappling with feelings brought on by the hijackings, Dominguez said.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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