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Profile: Gwendolyn Tosé-Rigell
Gwendolyn Tosé-Rigell was a participant or observer in the following events:
Gwendolyn TosÃ©-Rigell. [Source: Rod Millington / Sarasota Herald-Tribune]President Bush informs the principal of the Florida school he is visiting about the plane crash at the World Trade Center, but says he is still going ahead with his planned event, listening to a children’s reading drill at the school. [Associated Press, 8/25/2002; Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/10/2002] Bush recently arrived at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota (see (8:55 a.m.) September 11, 2001) and has just talked over the phone with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice about the crash, but he thinks it was an accident (see (Shortly Before 9:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [BBC Radio 4, 8/1/2002 ; Bush, 2010, pp. 126-127] The school’s principal, Gwendolyn Tosé-Rigell, is now summoned to the room where Bush received the call, to talk to the president. Tosé-Rigell will later recall that Bush “said a commercial plane has hit the World Trade Center, and we’re going to go ahead and go on, we’re going on to do the reading thing anyway.” She will comment, “At that point my summation was they wanted him to know about this because it was important, but it couldn’t be anything huge.” Bush then heads into the classroom of Sandra Kay Daniels, to listen to the reading drill (see 9:02 a.m. September 11, 2001). [Associated Press, 8/25/2002; Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/10/2002]
Bush continues to read the goat story. [Source: Lions Gate Films]President Bush leaves the Sarasota classroom where he has been since about 9:03 a.m.(see Shortly After 9:03 a.m. September 11, 2001). The children finish their lessons and put away their readers. [Sarasota Magazine, 11/2001] Bush advises the children to stay in school and be good citizens. [Tampa Tribune, 9/1/2002; St. Petersburg Times, 9/8/2002] He also tells the children, “Thank you all so very much for showing me your reading skills.” [ABC News, 9/11/2002] One student also asks Bush a question, and Bush gives a quick response on his education policy. [New York Post, 9/12/2002] A reporter asks, “Mr. President, are you aware of the reports of the plane crash in New York? Is there any…” This question is interrupted by an aide who has come into the room, saying, “All right. Thank you. If everyone could please step outside.” Bush then says, “We’ll talk about it later.” [CBS, 9/11/2002] Bush then tells school principal Gwen Tose-Rigell, who is in the room, about the terror attacks and why he has to leave. [Washington Times, 10/7/2002] He then goes into an empty classroom next door and meets with his staff there. [ABC News, 9/11/2002] Bush’s program with the children was supposed to start at 9:00 a.m. and end 20 minutes later. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/16/2001] He leaves the classroom only a couple of minutes earlier than planned, if at all. The “goodbyes” and questions on the way out may have taken another minute or two.
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