Remembering 9/11

Head of School Bob Henderson shared these remarks in assembly Sept. 11, 2014: Many in this audience have no memory of September of 2001, although I think images in the media are familiar to us all. Those of us who are a little older remember that day all too clearly, glued to the television, talking with friends and family, trying to retain a sense of stability, order, and security amid fear, sadness, terror and wild speculation. All of us of the right age remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news that a plane had struck the World Trade Center, at roughly 9 a.m., as the school day was getting underway here on campus. The details of the next several hours forever remain vivid. In the early afternoon we gathered as a school community in this room, where we together began slowly to process what had happened.

The following day, Sept. 12, we confirmed here at Nobles what the direct loss had been to this community. Three current and former Nobles parents lost their lives on the doomed planes that left Boston bound for Los Angeles on that beautiful and terrible morning:

Richard Ross, father of Franklin, Class of ’02
Cora Hidalgo Holland, mother of Nate ’01 and Jessica ’97
Sonia Puopolo, mother of Mark ’90

Later we learned, after she joined this faculty, that faculty member Meg Jacobs had lost her brother, John Randall, in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on that day.

Richard, Cora, Sonia and John were victims of the deepest sort of intolerance, of fanaticism, of hatred driven by irrational ideology.They were all loving people whose lives were dedicated to their families.All four were aware of and thankful for the blessings that this life had bestowed upon them, grateful for the love with which they were surrounded, and for the opportunity to love others.They were also generous and giving, with deep commitments to service.These four were from very different backgrounds, and they did not know each other, yet they all shared a connection, through the tragedy of that day, with this community and with each other.They represent a microcosm of all that is best in this country, and in this extended school community.Their loss was a stunning waste.

We are left to derive meaning and purpose, not from death, but from the richness of their lives. It is our obligation to continue that dialogue and quest, to affirm life and direction from an act still so incomprehensible, for if we do not seek to understand, it will control and direct us against our will. With steady determination, we must affirm our values and principles as Americans and as human beings in the face of that most stark and egregiously violent challenge.

Please join me in observing a moment of silence in remembrance of and honor for all the victims of Sept. 11, 2001.

We will now indeed affirm life with a special recognition here in assembly.For the last several years in the opening meeting of faculty and staff we have honored a member of the staff with the Cora Holland Hidalgo Holland Award, and we make this recognition in this annual assembly as well.

Some of us in this room remember Cora Holland well. She was a dedicated supporter of the Nobles community. On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, she boarded an airplane in Boston bound for Los Angeles to visit relatives. She was never able to rejoin her family after that tragic trip. Cora’s particular concern and attention were reserved for the school staff. A person with special warmth and openness, Cora went to great lengths to welcome and befriend all the employees of the school with whom she came in contact. Her family felt that this award would be an appropriate means whereby Cora could be memorialized in this community.

The Cora Hidalgo Holland Award expresses the deep gratitude of this community to a member of the school staff whose work has been excellent, whose dedication has been exceptional, and whose character has made this a better place in which to live and work for all of us.

I am very pleased to present the 2013 Cora Holland Award to Thanae Cooper. Many of you know her from the admission office. Thanae genuinely cares about people and it shows through her daily interactions with everyone who passes through the admissions office.Whether it is making a visiting family feel as if they are known and treasured, to taking the time to interact with other members of the faculty and staff as they come by, Thanae does what it takes to make others feel comfortable.She ensures that everything happens seamlessly in the admission office. Efficient, organized and clear, Thanae gives the best of herself every day to make sure the school is presented to our internal and external communities in both the most professional and welcoming light. She is smart, creative, thoughtful, highly motivated and a great colleague.

Today we express our community gratitude to Thanae Cooper with the Cora Hidalgo Holland Award.

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