Some staff and students at Andover High School are questioning the lack of acknowledgment of 9/11 at school this year.

Morning announcements came and went with no extended moment of silence for the victims of 9/11. However there was mention of the current “I Will” effort from the Social Studies Department, a campaign that encourages students to engage in good deeds to rise above the attack and cement a sense of community.

Students pledged to do good deeds as part of the "I Will" campaign and recorded their intentions on a poster in the cafeteria. (Photo by Rebecca Boese)
Students pledged to do good deeds as part of the “I Will” campaign and recorded their intentions on a poster in the cafeteria. (Photo by Rebecca Boese)

The “I Will” campaign is dedicated to the victims and families affected in the 9/11 attacks. People can pledge online to www.911day.org and make a statement about how they will do something positive for the world. The good deeds are a way to rise above the attacks and impact the world in a positive way.

Nicholas Woods, a senior, said, “I think it brings us together as a united community, brings back hope to the Boston community.”

Ms. Robb, a social studies teacher who brought the “I Will” campaign to Andover High, thought the program was successful for the number of people who participated. “We didn’t have the same numbers as last year because we weren’t able to do things over the summer like last year because the summer was so short,” said Robb. “For the people who did do it, it was successful.”

Dr. Lord, principal of Andover High School, believes that this year’s “I Will” campaign was a “great start.”  He would love to see more students involved, and take it to the next level. Lord himself participated in the campaign by agreeing to wash the dishes and vacuum for his wife.  Though he hopes one day for every student to be involved, the I Will campaign “must be a voluntary thing, not mandatory. I want the kids to want to do it; [if it becomes mandatory] then it becomes a chore.”

Although the “I Will” campaign was effective in raising some general awareness, other staff and students were expecting further recognition of the day. In previous years, the school held moments of silence and lowered flags, and other tributes have been paid to the victims of 9/11.

Lord, who made the morning announcements that day, said this was done not to disrespect the victims. The moment of silence done every day is “unique to every student’s situation, and is a private moment meant to engage the students spiritually,” said Lord.  “There can be moments of silence for any tragedy.” Specific moments of silence are for “issues of immediate presence.”

“I feel like it’s a big day and we really should talk about it,” said Anne Lyons, a junior at Andover High School.

However, when the faculty was asked to give their reasoning for why they did not talk much about the “I Will” campaign and 9/11, there was a lot to be said.

For example, Ms. Chachus, a social studies teacher, thought that many of the teachers did not want to talk about it for personal reasons. One of the reasons could have been that in their minds, “it was not something that they could talk about in one day” with the students, and so instead they would go into the details later in the future when the students would be capable of handling the large and complex material.

Dr. Valverde, an assistant principal, realized the amount of recognition of 9/11 had dropped from previous years. She and Ms. Martini said they anticipated more of a remembrance.

While many are upset at the lack of acknowledgement of 9/11, others believe that it is time to move on and focus on the future.

“I think that it’s understandable that people who have experienced such a tragedy would want to commemorate it,” said Mr. Hopkins, a social studies teacher, “but … to spend so much time, this many years afterward, dwelling on this [tragedy], I think it tends to divide people.”

By the Newspaper Production Class