« Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (What Is David Brooks Trying to Say? Department) | Main | The Bush Administration Clown Show Continues »

January 02, 2005

Let's Hear It for Ten-Year-Old Tilly Smith!

The Minute Man has the goods:

JustOneMinute: Teach Your Children: Let's hear about ten-year old Tilly Smith:<

A 10-year-old girl saved her family and 100 other tourists from the Asian tsunami because she had learnt about the giant waves in a geography lesson, it has emerged. Tilly Smith, from Oxshott, Surrey, was holidaying with her parents and seven-year-old sister on Maikhao beach in Phuket, Thailand, when the tide rushed out. As the other tourists watched in amazement, the water began to bubble and the boats on the horizon started to violently bob up and down.

Tilly, who had studied tsunamis in a geography class two weeks earlier, quickly realised they were in danger. She told her mother they had to get off the beach immediately and warned that it could be a tsunami. She explained she had just completed a school project on the huge waves and said they were seeing the warning signs that a tsunami was minutes away. Her parents alerted the other holidaymakers and staff at their hotel, which was quickly evacuated. The wave crashed a few minutes later, but no one on the beach was killed or seriously injured.

In an interview with the Sun, Tilly gave the credit to her geography teacher, Andrew Kearney, at Oxshott's Danes Hill Prep School. She said "Last term Mr Kearney taught us about earthquakes and how they can cause tsunamis. "I was on the beach and the water started to go funny. There were bubbles and the tide went out all of a sudden. "I recognised what was happening and had a feeling there was going to be a tsunami. I told mummy."

There's a teacher who is feeling pretty good.

Posted by DeLong at January 2, 2005 08:58 AM

Comments

Hmm. Pairing this with the post just below, would Brooks say that Tilly Smith is a an agent of God or the Devil? After all, she did help save 100 people or so, but maybe just she cheated God of their richly deserved deaths, since Brooks wants God mucking around in human history and putting humans on center stage so much. Because it's somehow comforting to know that 100,000+ people died because of a divine grudge.
Plus, she used "knowledge" and "science", which are not always favorably looked upon by God's self-appointed chosen. Questions, questions.....

Posted by: mark at January 2, 2005 09:29 AM


What's I found interesting, is I distinctly remember reading a children's book of fiction in elementary or jr. high school that contained the same lesson. When the ocean disappears, the tsunami is coming.

What I really found interesting is that her mom paid attention to her. I try very hard to pay attention to my kids and to value their insights and what they have learned in school. And I have gained greatly from that. But it doesn't always happen.

Posted by: jerry at January 2, 2005 09:49 AM


Three cheers for geography as a subject to be taught and even something to major in. Geography was a core subject in K-8 when I went to school back in the Pleistocene era. I have since heard it gets little attention in the modern curriculum. I hope that’s not true.

I remember reading a book in the late 1970s with the title “Geological Hazards” or “Geophysical Hazards.” It had a chapter on the tsunami that hit Hilo circa 1960. I still remember a photograph of a man standing on the beach looking right at the wall of water headed towards him. The caption said he was never seen again.

Posted by: A. Zarkov at January 2, 2005 10:23 AM


so @ 10 she's already more mature, more informed, & saved more people than david brooks ever will.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!

Posted by: n69n at January 2, 2005 10:30 AM


Shouldn't we find out if her geography teacher is a liberal before we get all bent out of shape praising the student and teacher. It would be really embarrassing if it turns out the teacher were a liberal. I mean for pete's sake, he's a Brit, already and you know how lefty those folks can be. The school itself, is suspicious, asserting Christian tolerance on its educational aims page: " Although not in any strict sense denominational, the School is in the Christian tradition - a fellowship in which each member is expected to treat others with tolerance and respect and, under guidance, to learn and practise the self-discipline without which members of a community cannot be fulfilled." How will Rush spin this if the teacher is one of those darned liberals?

Posted by: Pudentilla at January 2, 2005 11:04 AM


i heard that a kid who had been taught by george bush himself ran out and tried to headbutt the tsunami.

Posted by: bryan at January 2, 2005 11:16 AM


"Shouldn't we find out if her geography teacher is a liberal before we get all bent out of shape praising the student and teacher. It would be really embarrassing if it turns out the teacher were a liberal."

If this kid had been homeschooled you can bet what teh right wing blogs would be touting.

Posted by: actus at January 2, 2005 01:08 PM


> What's I found interesting, is I distinctly remember reading a children's book of fiction in elementary or jr. high school that contained the same lesson. When the ocean disappears, the tsunami is coming.


Me too! I believe it was the classic "The Big Wave" by Pearl S. Buck.

Posted by: Keev at January 2, 2005 06:10 PM


Thanks Keev, looking up The Big Wave at Amazon, I have no memory of the rest of the story, but you must be right.

How I would have preferred though, you hadn't copied my terrible "What's I found...." :)

Posted by: jerry at January 2, 2005 06:33 PM


There was an episode of CSI: Miami earlier this year based on the same tsunani "warning" (underwater volcano somewhere near Miami, water goes out before it goes back in higher, thieves take advantage of the flood to rob a beachfront bank), so I also would have known what to do.

Posted by: arthur at January 2, 2005 07:16 PM


I think it's interesting that in so many cases, prepared minds can improvise a heroic response where centralized armies are impotent. This reminds me (oh god not this trope) of Sept 11 2001, when the only people who saved lives were the people on Flight 92 who heard about the WTC attack, rebelled against the hijackers, and ended up dying as heroes.

The lesson should be obvious -- education should not be a nice thing to fund once the military is taken care of. Rather, a well educated, prepared populace can replace the military in many if not all of its functions.

Posted by: steven bodzin at January 3, 2005 01:42 AM


thankGOD for this little girl!
It would be nice if we grownups remembered as well what we learned back then. At least these little miracles spread hope.
What a horrible tragedy..every country mourns!
Athens, Greece
[9 missing]

Posted by: Leda at January 4, 2005 05:40 AM


this stoy is true but i did not save 100 other torists.

Posted by: tilly smith at January 5, 2005 06:50 AM


My best friend (Holly smith)her older sister the amazing tilly Smith saved her family.Their mother Penny Smith proberly wouldnt of made it if it wasnt for Tilly!Who got really scared and left the beach.Penny was thankfully saved by her own daughter Tilly Smith what an a amazing girl!

Posted by: hanna lidbetter at January 5, 2005 07:06 AM