Monday, November 16th marks the 31st Anniversary of the East Coldenham tragedy.
At 12:30 p.m on November 16, 1989 a hurricane-force wind gust struck the wall of the EC cafeteria while 120 students, mostly first, second and third graders were eating lunch. The wall was slammed into the cafeteria sending a cascade of concrete, ceiling timbers and glass showering on the stunned children.
Teachers and administrators dug through the rubble with their hands to find the victims. The school library became an emergency ward that day.
Nine children lost their lives due to the tragedy. They were Amy Innis, age 8; Joanna Lichtler, age 7; Larae Litchhult, age 8; Peter Orsino, age 8; Charles Scotto, age 7; Adam Soltis, age 7 and Maria Stuhmer, age 8; Jennifer Marie Homan, age 8 and Mark Flanagan, age 7. A tenth EC student Rosalie Sbordone, age 5 she lost her life in a car crash just days after the tragedy. She is always remembered with the group.
A memorial to the victims is located in a garden near the school entrance. A painting by an EC teacher, Joe Carroll who helped to carry children out of the wreckage, is displayed as part of a memorial corner in the school’s cafeteria remembering the children lost that day.