Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo by Johnathon Kelso
Lauren Leszynski kneels to pray beside the annual Blessed Trinity 9/11 Flag Memorial which honors the victims of the September 11 attacks. Leszynski was the recipient of this year’s 9/11 Flag Memorial Scholarship.


Leszynski recipient of 9/11 Flag Memorial Scholarship

By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published September 16, 2021

ROSWELL—Lauren Leszynski and a crew of her classmates at Blessed Trinity High School started around 8:30 a.m. to place 3,000 flags. It would be several hours on Saturday, Aug. 28 before the last row of flags covered the grass horseshoe in front of the school.

The hours spent in the effort were not lost on her. Lauren, who is 16,  said she treated the time as a chance for contemplation. She said giving up her time and effort is just a small gesture as the country observes the horrific day of 9/11 and the sacrifice of others.

“Every flag is a life lost,” she said.

Some 2,600 people died in the collapse of the World Trade Center, and 125 died in the attack at the Pentagon. Passengers and crew of the four hijacked planes numbered 256.

The memorial in front of the Roswell high school remained for 20 days to mark the two decades since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Lauren is a junior at the school and has participated in the flag memorial for the past few years. She is the daughter of Christina and Matthew Leszynski. The family attends Transfiguration Church in Marietta.

Lauren Leszynski places American flags on the Blessed Trinity campus lawn in honor of the victims of the September 11 attacks. Leszynski was the recipient of this year’s 9/11 Flag Memorial Scholarship. Photo by Johnathon Kelso

It was a Leszynski family connection that brought the Sept. 11 commemorative speaker, Kevin Carpenter, to the school. Christina Leszynski talked to a friend about her daughter spearheading the flag installation. Her friend then told her about her brother-in-law who worked in the Pentagon during the attack. Carpenter encouraged the young people to embrace being dedicated to serve others in a Sept. 8 assembly.

Lauren is the recipient of the 9/11 Flag Memorial Scholarship. The $1,000 scholarship goes to a student selected in recognition of their patriotism, love of country and personal commitment to the flag installation.

Another school scholarship is also linked to Sept. 11 and its aftermath.

First Lieutenant Scott Fleming, class of 2004, was killed on Sept. 17, 2010 in Afghanistan while providing security during the country’s parliamentary elections. While a student, Scott was co-captain of the 2003-04 varsity boys basketball team. He graduated from LaGrange College and then joined the Marines. An endowed scholarship honors his memory.

The flag memorial scholarship was started by Robert and Cheryl O’Donnell. It followed the tradition of their daughters Kathleen and Ryan, members of the Blessed Trinity class of 2019 and 2020, respectively. The two women created the school’s Sept. 11 flag memorial.

Cheryl O’Donnell said Leszynski shines as a scholarship recipient. There was no doubt, O’Donnell said, about awarding it to Lauren after watching how her initiative enlarged the school event to educate the students about the historic day.