Three weeks ago, I walked along the shore of Rockaway beach. The sight was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Debris from beach houses was scattered across what remained of the boardwalk, cars were peaking out from beneath the now subsided waves, and my grandfather’s house, a place where I had spent the majority of my younger years, was left in ruins. Many have predicted that this town, as well as others than have been devastated by the hurricane, will take hundreds of millions of dollars to repair and in some cases, many years until some can resume their everyday lives. And just to think, he was one of the lucky ones. While he may have just narrowly escaped the storm’s grasp, many of his neighbors and friends were not as fortunate. Some like him lost their houses, though many others lost loved ones, if not their own lives.
Similarly to the Rockaway beach area, Hurricane Sandy hit lower Manhattan with a vengeance. The immediate effects of the storm were obvious; flooding and loss of power and gas. Though even after the surge subsided, the damage left in its wake was far worse than any of us could have ever imagined. For the first time, Manhattan’s transit system was crippled. Subways and tunnels were out of use, gas supply was extremely scarce, and schools were shut down across the city.
Upon our return to school the Monday following the storm, the Browning community rallied together and made a tremendous effort to help those affected by the hurricane. Under Mr. Keany’s leadership, students of all ages came together and donated a total of 23 boxes worth of essential items needed by the effected New Yorkers. In addition to this drive, with Mr. Reynolds’ guidance, the Upper School Student Council held two consecutive school wide dress-down days to raise money for the relief effort. I’m proud to say that over the course of these two days, the school was able to raise over 10,000 dollars, a new school record for a student run event. Though the amount of materials gathered and money raised will certainly help those affected, many members of the Browning community took helping those in need one-step further. Many Browning families unselfishly provided shelter and solace to those who were ousted from their homes, while others helped out the relief cause by way of an aggressive clean up effort. If anything, this shows just how resilient our small Browning community truly is, rising to the challenges presented by one of the nation’s worst natural disasters on record.
Come tomorrow though, whether you are sitting down to have Thanksgiving dinner with your families or celebrating in some other way, just remember, that this year, we all have much to be thankful for.
It’s been a tradition in my family, as in many other families, that each year at Thanksgiving dinner, we go around the table and say what we are thankful for. When I was younger, I didn’t think much of this process. Yet as I grew older, I began to understand the importance of reflecting on all the positive things in ones life. In the wake of an event as catastrophic as Hurricane Sandy, I think it is essential for all of us, even the Pre-Primary boys, to know that we are all very fortunate, and must not take anything for granted.
In life, remember this, we will all race, stumble, and fall. But in time, we will learn to pick ourselves back up. In time, we will overcome and accomplish wonders. Thank you, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving break.
—Alexander J. Bendo '13, Upper School Student Council President