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Hidalgo sixth-grader helps organize tribute

AROUND THE FLAGPOLE:

September 20, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — Gathered around a flagpole in the sun, a student-run ceremony at Miguel Hidalgo Elementary School here Wednesday paid tribute to the victims and families of last week's terrorist attacks while participants prayed for the country's well-being.

Sixth-grader Courtney Allen, 11, helped organize the gathering "because everyone seemed so depressed."

About 55 students, teachers and parents attended the ceremony. While participants formed a circle with their bodies and clasped hands, they made spiritual connections as well.

"I think if we spread the word of God it'll make the school a better place," Courtney added.

After reading aloud a letter to America's students from Laura Bush, those gathered sang patriotic songs. The event reached its high point as each person present was given the chance to say what they were feeling or offer a prayer for those affected by the tragedy.

Student organizers hoped the sharing of thoughts would help people open up.

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"It's so everyone gets a chance to say something," said sixth-grader Julie Alexander, 11, who also helped put on the ceremony.

"I liked how everyone got in a circle and held hands," Julie added.

Sixth-grader Laura Avila, 11, said she decided to attend the voluntary ceremony because she'd heard a lot about the attacks in the news.

"It (the ceremony) is very important because of what's happened," Laura said.

Laura said she didn't speak during the ceremony because she wasn't sure how to put what she was thinking and feeling into words.

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

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