Teacher to share story of 9/11 healing on TV


ONE YEAR ago today, Tammi Lynch, a special education teacher at Clarksville Middle School, was serving as the school's acting administrator while the administrative team was out of the building.

She remembers the frenzy she and other teachers felt as the day's events unfolded.

"It was scary to see the panic of the kids and the panic of the parents," Lynch said. "As a teacher, you don't think that on a day-to-day basis, your job is keeping kids safe. It really hit home that day."

Today, Lynch can be seen on the Lifetime Channel. The show is titled Stories of Hope, Healing and Courage: Remembering 9/11.

Lynch was included in the program because of a project she initiated to help two of her pupils cope with the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

With the assistance of teacher Jeff Metzger and student teacher Melanie Wilson, Lynch worked with the pupils to collect money for children at Intermediate School 89 - three blocks from the World Trade Center - and for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. Their endeavor, Pennies for the Pentagon, Nickels for New York, raised $1,200.

For days after the attacks, Erica Hernick, now in ninth grade at River Hill High School, had carried around a newspaper showing photos of the Twin Towers engulfed in flames. Lynch decided that she needed to be creative to help her pupils process what they were feeling.

"The project came about from my understanding of their needs to work through it and have something positive come out of it," Lynch said.

So Erica and Steven Kirby, a freshman at Atholton High School this year, placed red plastic firefighter hats in each classroom at Clarksville Middle to collect spare change to help the victims of the attacks. Each week, Erica and Steven sorted, counted and rolled the money.

"Throughout the year, they were able to focus on something positive," Lynch said. "They really had a place to channel their energy and channel their thoughts."

In July, a camera crew from Lifetime came to film Lynch and her pupil. Although Lynch is uncomfortable with the attention, she said she is grateful for the recognition her pupils have received and is proud of their accomplishments.

"They were able to see some good coming out of what had happened from the events of Sept. 11. They were able to help some other kids who were suffering," Lynch said.

Stories of Hope, Healing and Courage: Remembering 9/11 airs today at 11:30 a.m., 7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. on the Lifetime Channel.

Goodbye, polio

In 1986, 400,000 people throughout the world were diagnosed with polio. Last year, fewer than 600 cases were reported. The decline in the incidence of polio is attributed, in large part, to the efforts of members of Rotary International. The organization's motto is "Service Above Self."

Rotary International joined hands with UNICEF and the World Health Organization to provide the materials and manpower to administer vaccinations around the world. Rotary International has contributed $500 million to the effort.

At a recent meeting of the Columbia Town Center Rotary Club, President Fred Antenberg introduced Dr. Raj Saini, a leader in the polio-eradication program, as "an individual who truly makes a difference in the lives of people in Howard County and worldwide."

Born in a small village in India, Saini has lived in Harper's Choice since 1970. He has an orthodontics practice with his son, Dr. Tarun "Ty" Saini.

Raj Saini was chosen to be a national coordinator of the Polio Plus Project in 1986. He estimates that he has logged more than 40,000 miles on his car while traveling to raise money to eradicate polio. Saini has raised more than $5 million for the project to date.

Over the next three months, he plans to visit 62 Rotary clubs to raise a portion of the $275 million needed to complete the project.

In his address to the Town Center Rotary Club, Saini encouraged Rotarians to donate $250 each toward the project. Nearly every hand in the room was raised in a pledge to support the program.

"The fight is very hard from now on," Saini said. "As long as there is one case somewhere in the world, we have to continue doing it."

For more information on donating to the Polio Plus Project, call 410-730-1255.

Band plays

The Town Center Community Association will sponsor a performance by a clarinetist and a singer from U.S. Army Field Band in a chamber recital from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 22 at Historic Oakland Manor, 5430 Vantage Point Road.

Dessert will be served after the concert. The program is free, but reservations are required.

Call 410-730-4744 for more information.

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