Thursday, August 5, 2010

School Mourns a Teacher's Loss

by Bill Barnes
Hyannis News
September 13, 2001

The flags are at half-staff throughout the Dennis-Yarmouth School System as students and faculty share in the mourning of Julie Sweeney, a teacher and coach whose husband Brian, was killed when United Airlines Flight 175 slammed into the World Trade Center Tuesday.

Julie Sweeney, who joined the D-Y system this fall, teaches health and is the assistant cross-country coach at the high school. Her husband was a business consultant. They had been married for 2 1/2 years and had no children.

The Sweeneys moved to Barnstable just a few months ago, and according to their neighbor in Barnstable, Wendy Smith, he was like a little kid, just so happy to live on the Cape. He just bought a boat.

She characterized Sweeney as an unbelievable American, a top-gun pilot and a top-gun instructor.

Shortly before 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sweeney attempted to call his wife from the hijacked airplane, according to D-Y acting school superintendent Tony Pierantozzi, and when he could not reach her, he called his mother in Spencer to tell her what was happening aboard his flight.

In a press conference Wednesday, Pierantozzi said that the Sweeney family had requested the media to respect its need for privacy.

He also said that to ensure that the educational process could continue without disruption, there would be no access by the media to students or staff on school property.

He said that so far as he knew no other members of the staff or student body had suffered directly from the terrorist incidents, but that student support teams were in place to provide counseling as needed.

Students were not permitted to watch television reportage in school on the disaster Pierantozzi said, because it was felt that parents should have control of what they could and couldn't see, that teachers had been talking to the students about the events and their meaning.

On Tuesday, a large number of students left school early or were taken home by their parents in the wake of the terror attack, as many as 40 from the Nathaniel Wixon School alone, but attendance was back to normal on Wednesday.

© Copyright 2001

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