Henry Barnard Early Childhood Center kept alive its tradition of observing 9/11 this week with its annual ceremony at Amy’s Greenhouse, which honors a former teacher’s daughter who was lost in the 2001 attacks.
“Amy’s spirit – who she was, who she will remain – is alive and well in this setting,” Geraldine Davie said of her daughter, Amy O’Doherty, who perished when the airplanes struck the Twin Towers. Davie was a Barnard pre-kindergarten teacher at the time.
Davie was addressing the gathering of staff members, friends, New Rochelle firefighters and others at the greenhouse and its patio. Interim Superintendent Dr. Magda Parvey praised Davie and the Barnard staff for creating the greenhouse in O’Doherty’s memory.
“Here at Amy’s Greenhouse, the staff of Barnard realized an idea from Ms. Davie to emerge from tragedy – a day that shook our nation to its core and a personal tragedy that struck so close to home – and to create in its aftermath a place that celebrates life,” Dr. Parvey said.
State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson and Barnard Principal Dr. Nicolas Cracco also spoke.
Bramson called the greenhouse “a wonderful example of what can be accomplished when we work together – of taking from a dark experience a commitment to bringing joy into the lives of children who will grow up understanding that even though there are dark elements in this world, it is still also filled with love and support, and that all of us working together have the capacity to make it so.”
Current and former Barnard students started the ceremony by leading the gathering in the Pledge of Allegiance. Dr. Cracco then recruited several students to help unveil several new sponsored bricks in the greenhouse’s patio.
Dr. Cracco announced that two teachers, Trish Flanagan and Tara Knebel, were named “Amy’s Greenhouse butterflies”, the name given to all who help with Amy’s Greenhouse.
Flanagan, addressing the gathering, pointed to the window of the class where she was teaching when the attacks occurred. She talked about the greenhouse as a source of joy for students, and said she looked forward to the year’s activities with students. Tasting cider fresh-pressed from apples, decorating pumpkins and witnessing amaryllis flowers bloom in “a shocking display of floral beauty that you never expect,” she said, “will create a meaningful, positive wealth of memories in their young hearts.”