A determined group of grade 7 students marked the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by holding an assembly in its honor at Harker’s middle school.
Although only recently born when the historic event occurred, the students felt connected to it, and wanted to do something meaningful to commemorate it.
More than 500 students, faculty and staff shared a moment of silence during the moving assembly held on the Blackford campus. Presenting were six seventh graders: Aneesha Kumar, Emmy Huchley, Katherine Zhang, Katherine Tian, Akshay Ravoor and Andrew Chang (pictured above).
According to middle school English teacher Patricia Burrows, the half dozen presenters had met for an entire year in preparation for the assembly. The student leaders wanted their peers, who were also quite young at the time of 9/11, to learn about the importance of the day.
Along with history teacher Andy Keller, Burrows served as a teacher facilitator for the student-led assembly. “I was so impressed by the way the student audience responded – they were respectful and during the moment of silence, you could tell that they were holding their breaths in because they wanted so much to honor it,” she recalled.
“The students’ hope was that we can learn why this event occurred and how we may improve as individuals, as a community and as human beings,” added Keller.
Educators worldwide have stressed the importance of teaching about 9/11 in the classroom, especially with those too young to personally recall the day. Construction of a new One World Trade Center, which began years ago, is still underway and expected to be completed later this or early next year, making the event even more relevant.
“It was their determination and persistence that made this assembly happen,” said Burrows. “It was they who met once a month for nearly a school year to talk about what they wanted to do to commemorate the day and educate fellow students about it,” she said, noting what an inspiration the presenters were for the other students, role modeling how to take their ideas and put them into a call for action.