SHHS students show patriotic pride, resolve

Mahria Zook couldn’t find the right makeup, but she found bright red, white and blue paint at Sweet Home High School and soon, her face became a canvass for a patriotic work of art.

Friday, SHHS students and staff joined others nationwide by wearing red, white and blue clothing as a show of patriotism in the wake of Tuesday’s bombing of the World Trade Centers in New York and Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Basketballs dropped to the floor, the clatter of computer keyboards fell silent and the pace of the school that is usually frenetic went dormant for one minute Friday afternoon as Oregon and the nation spent that time mourning the thousands of innocent Americans killed by terrorists.

“God Bless America” said the reader board outside the school’s main entry way. Another poster carried the same message inside the main hallway.

“The first day, the kids talked about it a lot,” said Coreen Melcher, student store manager. “They were upset, angry. They just sat and listened to it on TV much of the day. There was grief, shock.”

Principal Pat Stineff said the kids definitely realized it was “big news”.

“We decided to let the kids watch the TV news in the morning but not all day,” Principal Stineff said. “We wanted them to get the facts about what was going on. Our teachers and counselors talked to the kids as well.”

Principal Stineff said it was much better for the students to have an understanding of what was going on than just rumors.

“We also wanted to squelch any racist comments that might come up but from that standpoint, things have been good,” Principal Stineff said.

Students reacted in their own way to the tragic news. Some were somber. Some cried. Others let off nervous energy by giggling or cutting up.

“We have tried to calm any fears about a major war,” Principal Stineff said.

SHHS counselors had an open door policy for any student who appeared distressed.

“We’re just trying to get back to as normal operation as possible,” Stineff said. “Even though the tragedy is so far away, it definitely has had an impact on our kids.”