Carnegie Class of 2015 Remembers the Dead Horse

The Carnegie Vanguard Class of 2015 will be the last class who remembers the old campus. Opinions and memories of the old campus vary, but one story that always stands out is the time that a horse died behind the temporary buildings at the back of the school. The first thing to know about the dead horse is that, as Mr. Holloway, English teacher, said, “there wasn’t the dead horse. At least once a year we dealt with a horse, but usually they would drag it out onto the median of the street. And so we’d actually by that time kind of gotten used to the idea of dead horses being around Carnegie.” The median on the right side of the old campus used to occasionally boast a dead horse, which students could see coming or going from school. Sarah Jung ’15 says that she “would see the occasional dead horses on median. It was typical.”

Emaciated horses nearby the campus.

Emaciated horses near the campus

What made this dead horse special is that it wasn’t dragged out onto the street to be left for the city to deal with. Instead, it was “literally no more than 10 feet away from the window” of Mr. Holloway’s classroom, and if there’s one thing that many people can remember, it is the According to Francisca Mattioli ’15, “It was awful. I had first period Savage, and his classroom was the closest and smelled the worst.” David Lee ’15, agrees, “It was terrible. It smelled awful!” Mr. Holloway remembers “that moment when it started smelling… it started really smelling, like making people ill. I think I threw away the clothes I was wearing that first day, because the smell wouldn’t go away. And my wife reminds me that all I told her was that I want to go brush my teeth a thousand times in a row, that’s how disgusting how my body felt from the smell. It was a really, really, strong horrible smell.” David Lee remembers hearing about why the horse smelled so bad. “You know how when organisms die, there’s like stuff inside your body that creates a lot of gas, so pretty much after you die and they just leave you there to rot, you just kind of explode. So, I heard about that. I thought it was pretty rad.”

Luckily, not everyone had to deal with the smell. “I actually couldn’t smell it well because I had a cold,” Claire Hardwick, ’15, recalls. Sarah Jung says that she “didn’t smell anything myself since my sense of smell was terrible.” Destini Smith, senior, says that she had advocacy with Ms. Shultz up near the front of the school and “heard the rumors but didn’t smell anything.” Jessica Melton “had no idea what it smelled like entire day.”

There were other problems besides the smell. “There were a lot of flies and they’d get into the classrooms — gross,” says Aisha Sadiq ’15. A few students recall going to try and see the body. “One day I decided to take a little adventure, go look at the body in one of the bigger regrets of my life. I gagged a little bit,” says Kyle Frank ’15.

While no student or teacher interviewed has a clear memory of what the horse looked like, senior Ashlie Luna, says that the horse was “white or covered with white powder.” The temporary buildings, which were located closest to the dead horse and housed Mr. Holloway, Mr. Tran, Mr. Raj, Mr. Jonas, Mr. Savage, and Ms. Alcoriza, were hit hardest by the experience. Sam Finkle, a current senior who had SSEP with Mr. Jonas on that day, says, “You see Mr. Jonas’s classroom on the previous campus was on the very edge of the building and very near that horse pasture that was adjacent to our school. So, of all the classrooms that were affected by said dead horse, we were in no doubt the worst possible situation.”

Teachers situated in the temporary buildings had to find their own ways to cope with the smell. Kyle Frank recalls that “Jonas tried to mask the stench in his room with vanilla air freshener which just made it so much worse.” Sam Finkle remembers sitting in Mr. Jonas’s class for fifteen minutes before they finally gave up and went outside. “Eventually,” he says, “we found a spare space on campus to spend the last ten minutes of SSEP where we just lived it out.”

Other teachers moved class as well. Mr. Raj’s geometry class moved into a disused room of the second story of the main building. Mr. Holloway taught in a different room for several days. However, the shared difficulties of the stench also brought the school together. Aisha Sadiq thinks that “it was a bonding experience for everyone in the T-buildings.” Sarah

Jung and Claire Hardwick found it funny, and Ashlie Luna thought that it was an “interesting experience.”

“I mean, if anything, that dea horse was a testament to Carnegie,” Sam Finkel says, “because there’s some points at Carnegie when it really is just a point at which how much homework can you endure. This was a test of how much smell of dead horse you can endure.”

Others saw the dead horse more as a practical life lesson. “I learned something about that,” says Mr. Tran, social studies teacher, “That’s something I actually use at the apartment complex [I run]. If you have stuff on your property, you’re responsible to remove it but if you move it on to public property and you claim that you don’t know who did it, the city has to take care of it. That’s why people moved the dead horse onto the middle of the road. Now I move furniture to the middle of the road.”

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  • James Coffman

    I quite literally walked into school and said “Did someone open a fish market specializing in rotten tuna here?”

  • Class O’13

    Of course Mr. Tran would be the one to take a business lesson from that whole ordeal!

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