Among those who died in last week’s airplane hijackings and related attacks were several educators and students.
Three students and three teachers from the nation’s capital perished in the Sept. 11 jetliner crash into the Pentagon outside Washington. The six-person contingent from the District of Columbia schools was headed for an ecology conference on islands near Santa Barbara, Calif., sponsored by the National Geographic Society.
Theirs was American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed after leaving Dulles International Airport in a Virginia suburb of Washington, killing all 64 people aboard as well as people inside the Pentagon.
One of the teachers was Hilda Taylor, who taught 6th grade at Leckie Elementary School in one of Washington’s poorer neighborhoods southwest of the U.S. Capitol.
A colleague described her as “an extremely energetic, caring” teacher, and an avid grant-writer who was deeply involved in the Jason Project, begun by the deep-sea explorer who found the sunken Titanic.
“She worked for the kids,” said Jackie Yamin, a 5th grade teacher at Thomson Elementary School. Ms. Yamin said her colleague had traveled to the Amazon and Hawaii in recent years for science training and had aimed to take students to Alaska this year. “It’s a real loss,” she said.
Besides Ms. Taylor, the two other Washington teachers who died in the crash were Sarah Clark, a 6th grade teacher at Backus Middle School, and James Debeuneure, who taught 5th grade at Ketcham Elementary School.
The three students from Washington lost in the crash were Bernard Brown, who attended Leckie Elementary; Rodney Dickens, who attended Ketcham Elementary; and Asia Cottom, from Backus Middle School. All three were 11.
“To lose our young students and their teachers as they were expanding their educational and professional horizons is extremely painful for all of us,” said Paul L. Vance, the superintendent of the 67,000-student District of Columbia system.
Two employees of the National Geographic Society died while accompanying the educators and students: travel director Ann Judge and geography-education outreach director Joe Ferguson.
Barbara G. Edwards, who taught French and German at Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas, also died on the airliner.