Saturday, March 02, 2002

Lakota links to N.Y. pupils

Educator tells about 9-11 effect

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        LIBERTY TOWNSHIP — Nearly six months after the collapse of the World Trade Center, students in two nearby elementary schools are still attending classes in other buildings.

[photo] Former Stuyvesant High principal Jinx Cozzi Perullo speaks to journalism students Friday at Lakota East High School.
(Michael Snyder photo)
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        And students at Stuyvesant High School — which was used as a triage center after the towers collapsed — and the other eight schools that were evacuated Sept. 11 are still having nightmares about what they saw that morning.

        Those observations came Friday from Jinx Cozzi Perullo, a former Stuyvesant principal who is now heading a foundation trying to raise funds for the school. Ms. Perullo was the guest of Lakota East High School journalism students who are preparing a six-month anniversary piece for the April issue of the school newsmagazine, The Spark. The focus will be on life before and after Sept. 11.

        Each month since the towers' collapse, the Spark has published articles about developments related to the terrorist attacks and the after-effects, said Editor Chen Wu.

        “She's given a lot of facts you don't hear on TV,” said Mr. Wu, 18. “It's (war on terrorism) out there, not personalized. Now you have someone (Ms. Perullo) who goes through it every day.”

        Ms. Perullo, whose great-niece Alicia Cozzi is a journalism student at Lakota East, said she was impressed by the students' work.

        She recounted the work of Stuyvesant students during the five days classes were canceled to put out a special edition of their publication, The Spectator. Eventually, it became a freestanding insert into one million copies of the New York Times.

        “Your piece on 911 was spectacular,” said Ms. Perullo, who lives less than a mile from ground zero. “I didn't think a piece like that would come from a school so far away.”

        She spoke of the sadness, how unprepared New York City and school officials were — schools weren't evacuated until 10:20 a.m. — and the coming together of New Yorkers. The big issues now emerging are air quality and how to memorialize the victims of the attack at the site, Ms. Perullo told the journalists.

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