When 16-year-old Steven McQuirk heard of the terrorist attacks early Tuesday morning, he couldn't wait to get to his sociology class at Carson High School.
"This class discusses a lot of current events - that's what this class is all about," he said. "It's important to be able to voice your opinions and get opinions from different people."
Sociology and world history teacher Christian Harrison dedicated his class sessions to the attacks.
"My lesson plans today were to talk about cultural influences," he said. "It just seemed shallow compared to this."
Harrison served four years in the U.S. Army, two of them in Germany, and said his experience helped give him perspective.
"This was not an act of war," he told the students. "There were no military tactics involved. This was an act of terrorism."
He said it also gave students a broader perspective of world politics.
"This kind of thing rarely happens here, but in Israel and Palestine there are terrorist attacks every day," he said. "The kids really got to look at their country in world terms."
The class discussion also gave a sense of reality to the feeling of disbelief surrounding the attacks.
"I didn't even really believe it when I first heard it," said Cory Couch, 17. "I thought it must be a mistake because nothing like this has ever happened before. Now, all I can think about are all the people that were hurt."
Harrison talked to the students about the difference between warfare and terrorism and what kind of retaliation may be in the works.
A citizen can be prosecuted for aiding and abetting a fugitive, so can nations be be held responsible for protecting a terrorist responsible for the attacks, he said.
"In that case, things could elevate," he explained. "But I'm not so sure these nations want that kind of pressure."
Still, students are worried about the potential of a possible war.
"It scares me," said Tracy Wood, 17. "You look at all the things that have happened in wars before and it's scary. Everything could be different."
Principal Glen Adair said there was a noticeable melancholy among the students at school.
"The school is calm, the students are calm but there is a very reasonable sense of urgency about them," he said. "They're very somber. They're taking this very seriously and they should. This is their country."