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Warwick Academy remembers 9/11 victim Rhondelle Tankard

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Rachael Betschart, Warwick Academy’s head girl, centre left, and Kwame Naylor, head boy, centre right, pay tribute to alumnus Rhondelle Tankard, who died in New York during the September 11 terrorist attacks. Also pictured are development office student leaders Brandon Madeiros, left, and Matina Pradham, right (Photograph supplied)

A private school paid tribute yesterday to an alumnus who died during the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Kwame Naylor and Rachael Betschart, Warwick Academy’s head boy and head girl, laid a wreath and photograph of Rhondelle Tankard at the school’s First World War memorial plaque at the building’s front wall.

Ms Tankard, 31, attended Warwick Academy between 1982 and 1987 and worked as a broker at the World Trade Centre in Manhattan when al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked and crashed two planes into the centre’s Twin Towers.

She had been seconded from the reinsurance firm Aon Bermuda to the company’s New York office two days before the attack.

Dave Horan, the principal of Warwick Academy, called Ms Tankard a “self-confident and enthusiastic young lady” who was remembered by current staff for her personality and contributions to the school.

He added: “She had a wonderful sense of humour along with possessing good common sense.

“During her time at Warwick Academy, Rhondelle excelled in music and was a member of both the orchestra and choir.

“She completed the Royal Schools of Music’s exams in piano, theory and violin.”

Seri Fisher, a Year 8 pupil, recorded a rendition of Elton John’s Candle in the Wind in memory of Ms Tankard.

Seri volunteered to rewrite the song’s lyrics to reflect Ms Tankard’s legacy, and performed it in a video that will be published on the school’s Facebook page tomorrow.

Warwick Academy’s year group representatives and principal, Dave Horan, pay tribute to alumnus Rhondelle Tankard, who died in New York during the September 11 terrorist attacks (Photograph supplied)

The song tribute was offered in place of a concert led by the school’s final year, who traditionally studied and performed Ms Tankard’s favourite music for her memorial.

Mr Horan said that the pupils had not practised in person for two years and did not feel they had enough time to prepare a full concert.

But he promised that 2023 would include a full concert in her memory.

Kwame Madeiros, head boy, left, and Rachael Naylor, head girl, right, lead the march to lay a wreath in memory of Rhondelle Tankard. The wreath was later taken to Ms Tankard’s parents (Photograph supplied)

The September 11 attacks, where Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda forces hijacked two other planes, one of which crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, also saw the death of Boyd Gatton, another Bermudian.

Mr Gatton, 38, graduated from Saltus Grammar School in 1980 and moved to New York in 1992.

He worked as an operations officer for Fiduciary Trust, operating on the 97th floor of the World Trade Centre’s South Tower.

A second former Saltus pupil, Robert Higley, an American citizen, also died in the attack.

A spokeswoman for the US Consulate said that the consulate would not host a commemoration event for September 11 this year.

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Published September 10, 2022 at 7:44 am (Updated September 10, 2022 at 7:44 am)

Warwick Academy remembers 9/11 victim Rhondelle Tankard

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