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Massena’s Alternative Education students remember 9/11 victims

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MASSENA - Eleven years ago on Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks shocked our nation. Although most adults can tell you where they were and what they were doing that day, it is a different story for our students.

Many school-age children have little or no memory of that day—this year’s seniors were just seven years old and kindergartners were not yet born. As the years pass, our students have less understanding of what happened on 9/11 and how that loss and destruction changed our country.

Massena Central Alternative Education School has taken steps to make certain students understand 9/11 as something more than an event in history.

English teacher Abby St. Thomas and her students created a bulletin board reflecting back on the events of 9/11.

“We had our students research the events of 9/11 and linked it to our curriculum. Our students researched poems, quotes and watched a video based on the happenings of that day. We talked about what happened and why it happened,” Mrs. St. Thomas said.

Students walked away with a greater knowledge of 9/11. Justice Montoya, a 10th grader in Alt. Ed., was shocked at all that she didn’t know about that day. “I learned a lot actually. I learned that they are working on the building and that there are a lot of heroes,” he said.

Social studies teacher Joseph Mittiga and students created a miniature cemetery to represent all of the fallen on 9/11. “This is the most important event that has happened in our generation that most of our kids don’t know much about,” Mr. Mittiga said.

“We hope that our students have a greater appreciation for their country and we hope that they learned just how influential this was. The miniature gravestones has the names of all the victims that died that day, 2,977 names”

Students laid out the miniature cemetery on the lawn just outside the Alternative Education School. It served as a visual reminder of how many victims died that day and emphasized that each victim was more than just a statistic, but an individual with family and friends who deserves to be remembered each 9/11.

“This project helped the students see firsthand the devastation that 9/11 had on our country. I was very happy to see all the grades work together toward a common goal. This was a great project to start the school year off with, and Mr. Mittiga did a great job taking the lead role,” Principal Jeremy Siddon said.

“Once in everyone’s life something happens that you can remember where you were and when you received the news. Many of the students were young when this terrible tragedy happened, but they can tell you exactly where they were. I was extremely pleased with the overall sincerity that each student had while working on this project.”

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