As the nation remembers and honors the 16th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, many schools are now filled with students who were born after the attacks happened, including freshmen at George Washington High School. Educators at the school found a creative way to teach the events of that day to these ninth-grade students who are learning about Sept. 11 as a history lesson rather than a remembrance.
The National Day of Service and Remembrance, launched in 2002 by the nonprofit organization 9/11 Day, is an effort to inspire the tradition of engaging in charitable service on Sept. 11 as an annual and forward-looking tribute to the victims, survivors and those who rose up in service in response to the attacks. Monday, the freshman class at George Washington High School participated in their own Day of Service as part of an experiential lesson that encourages the teens to volunteer their time for a cause that resonates with them.
Representatives from Children’s Hospital, Warren Village, Bessie’s Hope, Project Angel Heart, Food Bank of the Rockies and Wounded Warrior Projectwere on campus for the day to educate the class and inspire them to take action to help others by involving the students in hands-on activities.
“Wounded Warrior Project has helped over 105,000 veterans nationwide since 9/11. And our goal is to find ways to give back and help them out. Why am I talking about that to you all today?” asked Greg Monck, alumni manager at Wounded Warrior Project, to fifty attentive freshman.
“Because the service-people were able to come together and help others on 9/11 and we can too,” chimed in a young student.
“That’s right. You’re never too young to start and it’s not all about raising money. There are awareness campaigns that you can run for causes that you are passionate about. Your ideas are important and can affect the lives of others,” replied Monck before launching into their group activity.
Throughout the day, students learned about various problems afflicting people, brainstormed ways to address those problems and then participated in topical activities like hand-tying fleece blankets for the Children’s Hospital, making supply bags for Warren Village’s after-school program and writing letters to veterans and brainstorming their very own student-led marketing campaign for Wounded Warrior Project. The goal of the day was to not only teach the impact and lesson of September 11, 2001, but to also get young kids to start thinking about a world larger than themselves and become involved in a service project that will extend throughout the school year.
“If we can get these students excited and involved as they start their freshman year, we know that this lesson will stick with them for many years,” explained Kelli Pfaff, DPS director of strategic supports. “These kids had not yet been born when September 11 occurred and some of them didn’t know why it was such an impactful day. This type of participation serves as a lesson in coming together to help others in need and will hopefully build a foundation that helps them stay engaged, contributing to their own success in high school and beyond.”