Wednesday, June 1 was like most end-of-the-school-year days. The classroom was hot and stuffy, as was the air outside, thick and heavy with moisture…telltale signs of a storm brewing. Nothing about the day seemed out of the ordinary. Strong thunderstorms are not uncommon when hot, moist air co-mingles with a cold front. It was just a typical New England spring weather day.
Nearing the end of the school day,
the 3rd grade teachers in 9-year-old Megan Frisella’s class had
completed the day’s lesson plan. Being conscientious teachers, they
opted to introduce a new lesson and selected a study plan about wind. In
the remaining minutes of class that day, Megan and her classmates
learned about the power of wind to foster energy, and they learned about
the dangers of wind in hurricanes and tornadoes. Little did anyone know
— or even conceive of the probability — that this last minute lesson
would save a family’s life.
A few hours after Megan returned home
from school Amy Frisella, Megan’s mother, heard that a tornado may be
headed for their hometown of Sturbridge, MA. Megan spoke up and told her
mother, “My teacher said you got to get away from the windows and go to
a safe room.”
Now, the last tornado to hit in Central
Massachusetts occurred in 1953, and so Megan’s mom was bracing for
nothing more than a severe thunderstorm. However, having listened to her
daughter talk about what she learned in school, Amy decided to treat
the situation like a fire drill.
She took Megan and Megan’s
6-year-old sister Hailey, their 2 cats and the hamster, to the “safe
room” in the basement where there were no windows, just as Megan had
been taught. Less than a minute later, the house shook.
just like a movie,” said Megan’s mom. “It sounded like a train.” Twenty
seconds later, covered in soot, the Frisella’s emerged from the basement
to discover their home had been severely damaged by a tornado.
Frisella family is alive and unharmed today because of several
factors…teachers who embraced their role as educators, who taught an
extra lesson rather than blowing off the remaining minutes of the class
period; a young girl who paid attention in class and who listened to her
teachers; a parent who listened to her child and who recognized the
value of a teachable moment.
At KidsTerrain, we believe that
children, families, and teachers are life's greatest treasures. And we
believe in the value of listening and talking to kids. On Wednesday,
June 6, teachers talked, a child listened, a child talked, a parent
listened, and a family’s life was saved.
Written for KidsTerrain, Inc. Reprinted here with permission.