Sunday, January 25, 2004

Seniors fear for records

Some college application
material in Summit rubble

By Denise Smith Amos
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A day or two after Summit Country Day's high school building partly collapsed, forcing the campus to close temporarily, senior Natalie Sammarco got a second scare from one of the colleges she hopes to attend.

Fordham University in New York called to say it received her check, but not her application for admission. It was past deadline; Natalie was told she wouldn't be considered without those documents.

Natalie tried to explain that her files were likely under piles of rubble.

"I saw (the damage), it reminded me of a dog getting into a little girl's dollhouse," Natalie said. "All of my college files, all of my information, a copy of my application, was in there."

At first, the Fordham representative was unsympathetic and skeptical. Natalie could fill out an online application, she was told, but Natalie didn't know how she'd get new letters of recommendation and grade records.

Fellow senior Mollie Ward had applied to two colleges but hadn't received a response, so at the last minute she'd begun applying to several others when Summit collapsed.

Those deadlines loom in early February, she said, and colleges want her mid-year grades, too.

Seniors need not worry that Summit's collapse will affect their college chances, said the school's college counselor, Patricia White.

She said Saturday that workers recently retrieved her computer and some written records from her office, which was less than 10 feet from the rubble.

White also e-mailed hundreds of colleges about the collapse, sending pictures, and followed that up with letters and phone calls. She said most colleges will be flexible.

"Colleges are used to (incidents) like this happening, especially after Columbine and the World Trade Center," she said. "Colleges are very understanding."

Ward and Sammarco said they trust White and feel relieved.

Sammarco, who wants to study fashion and business, got other good news later in the week. Fordham found her letters of recommendation and her transcript.

She'll know in March if she's accepted.


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