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25

E L I Z A B E T H T O W N M A G A Z I N E • F A L L 2 0 1 1

Chr i st ine Yarzabek ’ 06 featured in Huff Post b in Laden art icle

When catastrophic or significant news events take place, it sometimes falls to school teachers to help kids sort through their thoughts on subjects that often are far over their heads. The global economic collapse, high-profile crimes and the May death of Osama bin Laden, who was killed by U.S. military forces in Abottabad, Pakistan, are heady subjects for adults, let alone 6-year-olds in backpacks and Buster Browns. Teachers, especially those at the elemen-tary level, scramble to wrap their heads around breaking news so they can respond to the questions and comments bound to surface in the classroom.

Christine Yarzabek ’06, a first-grade teacher in Hershey, Pa., was featured in a May 2, 2011, Huffington Post article that explored the process an educator goes through to reach out in an appropriate manner when high-profile news happens. She said she was contacted by the Huff Post reporter after she “retweeted” someone’s Twitter post about how teachers were ad-dressing bin Laden’s death.

“(The reporter) asked if she could give me a call at the end of the day,” Yarzabek said. “She interviewed me for about an hour and said the article would be posted by the end of the night.”

The article, “Teaching Osama Bin Laden’s Death In The Classroom,” explored Yarzabek’s thoughts on teaching her class

about the death of the al-Qaida leader and alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. “9/11 happened before my students were even born,” she said in the Huffington Post article. “It makes it hard to truly tell them in an appropriate way what is going on.”

The first-grade teacher thought it was important for children to discuss bin Laden’s death with their parents first, understand-ing that her students came from ethnically diverse homes, in which the subject could be discussed in differing ways. So, Yarzabek said, she did not address the topic the day it happened. She needed to do some soul searching and drew on memories of a cata-strophic event from her own youth. Yarzabek, who earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Eliza-

bethtown, is old enough to remember the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She knew firsthand the unsettling feelings and the numerous questions that significant events can carry. “The next day, we briefly talked as a class,” she said. “(The students) could simply understand that there was a man who did bad things to others and was very danger-ous; therefore was killed.”

In addition, Yarzabek said, the class read “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers,” the story of high-wire artist Philippe Petit. “The students thought the story was make believe,” she said, “but at the end, the towers were gone, and we talked about what happened. We focused a lot on emotions."

A L U M N I N E W S

Alejandro, a frst-grade student in Christine Yarzabek's class, shares his thoughts on the killing of Osama bin Laden: www.huffngtonpost.com/2011/05/02/ osama-bin-laden-dead-teaching_n_856672.html

“The students could simply understand that there was a man who did bad things to others and was very dangerous; therefore was killed.”

Christine Yarzabek '06

SEPTEMBER

13 ‘Celebrate E-town!’ – Harrisburg

17 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Alumni Chapter

22 Grotto Pizza and Family Game Night

24 ‘Celebrate E-town!’ – Lancaster

26 Jobs & Internships with the Department of State Seminar with Elizabeth Mosher '69

OCTOBER

3 Job Interviewing Skills Workshop for Alumni

15 Homecoming and Family Weekend 2011 (Complete schedule of activities is available in the Homecoming and Family Weekend fold-out section.)

15 Fall Alumni Council Meeting

17 Envisioning Your Future Career Seminar for Alumni

19 Washington, D.C., Alumni Chapter Night at Clyde's of Gallery Place

22 Philadelphia Alumni Chapter Into the Streets: Satellite Event with Philabundance

24 Career Services Alumni Live Online Chat— Topic: Graduate Schools

NOVEMBER

5 Baltimore Alumni Chapter Afternoon at the Linganore Wine Cellars

14 Alumni Live Online Chat—Topic: "Open Mic - Tell Us Your Best Networking Story"

16 Elizabethtown College Thanksgiving Dinner and Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

FAL L 2011

ALUMNI HAPPENINGS

For details on alumni events please visit www.etownalumni.com or call 800-877-2604.

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