A sign in the cafeteria allows students to post their “I Will…” statements. Photo by Rosanna Wang.

By Sheena Legall

The ‘I Will’ campaign has taken the country by storm. This movement is dedicated to  the loss we suffered on September 11, more than ten years ago.

The World Trade Center was completely destroyed by terrorist attacks when planes crashed squarely into the North and South WTC Towers and caused them to collapse.  Now all we have left of the Twin Towers is a memory. People came together as a nation and turned something so easily horrific and viewed it with a positive outlook. We looked at each other as brothers and sisters and embrace tightly because this is how strong of a country we are. We help each other. Today, everyone vows to do something extra special every year on 9/11. Everyone all over the country would say “ I Will..”

MyGoodDeed is the organization responsible for the ’I Will’ movement. This organization was founded be two very dedicated Americans: David Paine and Jay Winuk.

This topic hits very close to the heart for these two men, especially Jay Winuk. He had a younger brother, Glenn, who was working in New York City, at the place and time of the crash. He was a firefighter at heart and an attorney by trade. When the Towers were attacked, he raced to the south tower to help his fellow firefighters save as many people as they could. He died that day and evidence of his demise was found in March 2002. Right next to him was a medical kit.

In that same year, Paine and Winuk founded the non-profit organization (One Day’s Pay, eventually called MyGoodDeed) in memory of their close friend and brother. The organization has grown since then and continues to help spread goodwill among the people of America.

This year, Andover High School participated in the ‘I Will’ movement. Several teachers, such as Mr. Parker and Ms. Robb, have lent their unyielding support to this campaign. They have encouraged the students as well as all staff members to create their very own ‘I Will’ statement.

Mr. Parker says, “ Part of the ‘I Will‘ campaign is really to also remember the people who put themselves aside and just jumped in and helped right away.”

Welles Crowther was one of the people who did exactly that. We all saw the 9/11 video at our class meeting. Actions like his inspire this movement and is the fuel behind it. He saw that the American people needed help and just jumped right in. Because of that decision, he saved 12 lives. A dozen people got a second shot at life because of the selflessness that Welles Crowther displayed.

“And that’s the other part of this, to remember not the tragic part but the good that came out of that, that people were really incredibly unselfish,” Mr. Parker says. “’We the People,’ the first three words in the Constitution, of the preamble and that’s the part that I thought the students needed to know and have a better understanding of what that means.”

This is why this year, the Democracy and Media Literacy classes opted to partake in the ‘I Will’ movement, because is it about the people, its about working together and bonding through a common loss and helping each other heal.

As time passed, we forgot what it was to be nice to someone just because, and we forgot to do things for each other just because we wanted to and to show them that we appreciated them. Can you remember the last time you held a door open for someone or smiled at a stranger?

Ms. Robb agrees with the spirit of the ‘I Will’ movement and shares, “One of the things they talked about in the video was that there was this general sense of wanting to do good afterwards and its gotten lost. I remember being in Market Basket, standing behind someone, it was about two to three days after 9/11 and there was a woman there and she was a mom and she had a couple of kids with her. She starts putting everything on the belt and she gets to the cashier and says, ‘Oh my God, I forgot my debit card. Can you just hold this order? I‘ll run home and I‘ll come back,’ and the gentleman behind her just says, ‘Let me pay for this.’ The woman was like ‘No. You can’t.’ Clearly she had a large family so this was a large grocery bill and he said, ‘Please, let me do this. I want to do this.’ We all couldn’t go down to New York and help the firefighters but so many people felt that this was a tragedy and I need to do something so these small gestures was a way of dealing with it and a way of starting to heal and unfortunately that started to wane.

“It all falls to the students too. I mean, we put the nudge out there but what it becomes depends on everyone in our community because communities depend on everyone in the community.”

This ‘ I Will campaign inspires people to get that feeling back, it encourages us to get closer to our community because we are reliant and dependent on each other for help when we’re going through a crisis. Being involved in your community speaks volumes of your character and if everyone would simply dedicate a part of their lives to their community then we can face any hindrance thrown our way.

I would like to take a moment to remember someone from our past: Mr. Peter Arthur. He was a Social Studies teacher and baseball coach at AHS, and he died seven years ago. His colleagues all loved and adored him because he was a man capable of evoking such feelings. He would always tell his students to ‘give back’ because he understood the meaning of that. He would have been so proud of what we did this year, as a school. We came together and worked side by side, cooperatively with each other to make light of the history of this day. We turned something, which is tremendously painful into a day where we are completely selfless. I can just picture Mr. Arthur looking down and smiling at us, pleased about his view.

We can definitely expect this movement to continue for years to come. Anyone who wants to participate can. You just have to write a sentence about what you will do, as a citizen, and follow through with that promise. This is an ongoing event and feel free to stop by at the main office to submit your pledge. At the end of the year, it is our hope that we can fill out an ‘I did’ statement and how incredibly lovely would it be to be able to fill out that card? So I ask, classmates and staff alike, what will you do?