Two local teachers were honored among a select group of educators Monday for their creative efforts to teach students about the September 11th attacks. Gene Apodaca reports.
A memorial for a colleague who died in the September 11th attacks prompted Stephanie Shamah's students to start asking questions.
"Out went the lesson planning, all the curriculum that I thought of. 'Let's talk about 9/11,'" Shamah said.
That conversation lead to a months-long project at the Magen David Yeshivah Celia Esses High School in Brooklyn. Students learned about September 11th by researching a person who actually died in the attack. They eventually created a video based on biographies they wrote themselves about the victims.
"The students actually researched different people, understood who they were, their family, what they were doing that day, prior to that day," Shamah said.
The project earned Shamah a place among an elite group of teachers from across the country who were honored by the 9/11 tribute center on Monday. State Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa handed out the awards.
"It's keeping it alive. It's keeping the stories going," Rosa said.
"As long as I can remember, my father was there all the time, I don't recall seeing my father for two months. My mom joined the Red Cross two weeks later," said social studies teacher Carissa Agron, the daughter of two first responders.
Agron was cited for having her students at Archimedes Academy in the Bronx meet and listen to first responders and victims' families.
"They came to the tribute center. They also had docents come and visit," Agron said. "They've learned so much. And what they wanted to do was to write personal letters to first responders, recovery workers, family members, survivors."
Teachers say programs like this are so important because a lot of younger students do not have personal memories of the September 11th attacks.
But through projects like this, they are now getting informed. And for Pat Hargrave, who lost her husband Timothy in the attack, that's inspiring.
"From hearing the reaction that their students have and that the students are continuing to carry on with the knowledge they've been given, it just gives me a lot of hope," Hargrave said.