"Two staff members of the National Geographic Society, along with three Washington, D.C., teachers and three students they were traveling with, were among the victims of the terrorist attacks in the United States on Tuesday, officials of the Society announced on Wednesday.
Ann Judge, director of the Society's travel office, and Joe Ferguson, director of the Geography Education Outreach Program, were accompanying the three teacher-student pairs on an educational trip to California.
They were all killed along with the other passengers of American Airlines Flight 77 after it was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon at about 9:45 Tuesday morning.
Teacher James Debeuneure and student Rodney Dickens were representing Ketcham Elementary School; teacher Sarah Clark and student Asia Cottom were from Backus Middle School; and teacher Hilda Taylor and student Bernard Brown were from Leckie Elementary School. All the students were 11-year-old sixth graders.
They had been selected to participate in a program at the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary near Santa Barbara, California, as part of a Society-funded marine research project known as Sustainable Seas Expeditions."
"Through our educational outreach program, Ann and Joe were going to make geography and the environment come alive for these committed, talented teachers and their star students by putting them into the field with scientists and researchers," said John Fahey Jr., the Society's president and CEO.
"The D.C. School District has lost six extraordinary people, and we at the Society have lost two treasured colleagues," he added.