Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

March 29, 2013

The student becomes the teacher: Stairwell B

Tess Rowing
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — North Decatur High student Kaitlynn Scheidler, wants to share everything she has learned from her experiences in John Pratt’s Chautauqua, which tells the stories of 20 survivors of 9-11.

In a heartfelt synopsis written by Kaitlynn, “There was one common statement within every survivor I was in contact with,” Kaitlynn wrote. “They are all afraid that people will forget what happened on this terrible day.”

“My angle is to make sure people don’t forget,” Kaitlynn said, “I think we owe that to everyone who sacrificed their lives while we were in the comfort of our homes.”

She has presented to a number of institutions including theaters, fire departments, churches and her own school. Kaitlynn now wants people to know that she will share the stories of the survivors for free, if only she is asked.

The young woman has created a 55 minute DVD, which shows the faces of the survivors as they answer Kaitlynn’s questions. Seeing the survivors’ expressions and hearing their voices makes all the difference, Kaitlynn said.

“The bond we’ve made through this is something I couldn’t put into words,” Kaitlynn explained. “I didn’t expect them to be so generous.”

Twenty people survived the buildings’ collapses after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Fourteen of those people were in Stairwell B of the North Tower, the only stairwell which didn’t collapse into rubble and dust. Twelve people who were there that day decided to answer Kaitlynn’s questions.

The stories include the accounts of Genelle Guzman-McMillan, who was trapped alone for 27 hours; K-9 officer David Lim, who lost the dog who was his partner and friend, Sirius; and a written account from Jason Thomas, a Marine who helped rescue Port Authority Police with fellow Marine, David Karnes.

Kaitlynn said that she has become so close to some of the survivors that they have told her details they have not shared before.

“Did you know the first firefighter died from a jumper?” Kaitlynn asked. “One firefighter said there was a certain sound, and you knew it was a body hitting the ground. We don’t know what that’s like. He said you stopped counting at some point. I guess he was counting in the beginning. He said ‘you still hear the sound’.”

Kaitlynn said the fear that people will forget 9-11 stems from the city of New York. 9-11 is not allowed to be taught in New York schools due to fear of offending multiple religions, Kaitlynn said.

Some of the survivors were shocked to hear that in Indiana, Kaitlynn is allowed to speak publicly and share their stories.

Kaitlynn asks questions such as “Do you feel better now that Osama Bin Laden is dead?” and “How has your life changed?”

The simple questions often led to lengthy and wandering answers, said Kaitlynn, and other times the survivors found talking extremely difficult.

Kaitlynn’s DVD is not for sale, but if an organization is interested in hearing Kaitlynn speak and share her interviews, she can be contacted at 812-663-2434 or kaitlynns_931@yahoo.com.



Contact: Tess Rowing 812-663-3111 x7004