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Sixth grade class creates memorial for those affected by 9/11

Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 9:09 PM EDT
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WILLIAMSTOWN, W.Va. (WTAP) - Sixth-grade teacher, Lori Daugherty taught her science enrichment class about the September 11 attacks. After learning of the tragedy, students wanted to do something to honor those that were affected by that day 19 years ago with what they call the “Garden of Freedom.”

It was a way to not only teach these students about something critical in American history, but to get them more engaged. And it was immediately backed by the school’s principal, Jason Ward as well as the assistant principal, Jeff Mennillo.

“We really thought this was a great concept," says Williamstown High School principal, Jason Ward. "Something that the kids can get involved with. Pretty lucky they took off and ran with it and we thought the unique part about being at Williamstown is we ended up having sixth-graders working on it. We had high school building and maintenance program working on it together. So, to have that collaboration for such a serious and somber event is really inspiring.”

It was also backed by local businesses that donated supplies to help create this garden.

The flowers were donated by Bob’s Market and Greenhouses located in Belpre. The personal guardian statue in the middle of the memorial is from Bob’s Market and Greenhouses home office in Mason, W. Va. The mulch was provided by Scot’s Landscaping in Vienna. Framing and landscape weed prevention fabric was brought in from Lowes of Marietta, Ohio. And all weather LED solar spotlights came from fellow teacher, Mrs. Shawver.

All of these supplies were free of charge.

The garden also provides symbolism for those affected by the attacks as well. The memorial is in a pentagon shape to identify the nation’s defense center that was attacked. The mums represent the 40 brave souls lost in Shanksville, Pa. And the pansies denote the nearly three thousand lives lost at the World Trade Center in New York.

All of the information that was taught to the children in this class made it very apparent to them just how important the assistance the first responders provided on that day.

“I would want to thank them for their bravery by doing what they did and for the people that they helped," says Makaela Bandy.

“Yeah, just thank them, because some of them are just volunteers off the streets," says Kadence Bandy.

It’s something that school officials say is a great way of providing teachable moments from any point in history.

“History is very important. And you can learn a lot from history," says Wood County Schools superintendent, Will Hosaflook. "And you can definitely see how history impacts what’s going on in the world now. And we can make changes accordingly. But history is an important part of our nation. Very important part of our curriculum. And that’s why history has meaning.”

Daugherty’s sixth grade class wanted to thank the school’s shop teacher, Mr. Tyler Chaddock for his time and labor in helping build this garden.

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