Nearly two decades later, 9/11 still elicits vivid memories for teachers

On the morning of September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people were killed when hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field.

It’s just so important to understand that you know though bad happened, we were able to band together as a country and a community and focus on the people that needed help at that time,”

— assistant football coach Kenneth Schiumo Jr.

Now, 19 years later, 9/11, also known as Patriot Day, is observed in the United States to honor not only the memory of the victims who were killed and injured by the terrorist attacks, but also first-hand responders who sacrificed their lives.

For assistant football coach, Kenneth Schiumo Jr., the day is especially memorable as he was attending elementary school just a few miles away from the Twin Towers on Staten Island.

“I was in my fifth grade homeroom and it was early in the morning and we were kinda getting school started,” he said. “We all got a report that we had to evacuate the building so we thought it was just a fire drill or something like that. Our pastor at the time came out and said we were informed that there was a small plane that hit one of the World Trade Centers and they’re investigating it. My dad worked at Madison Square Garden at the time and I was worried about him because of the attraction at Madison Square Garden is. I was picked up from school and I remember just kind of sitting in my living room and watching the live news footage which was a replay of the time of what was going on and we were trying to get in contact with my dad.”

For staff members such as social studies teachers Jennifer Nelken and Sarah Wiseman, the memories of where they were and what they did, are still vivid.

“I was getting ready for college classes. I saw the news when the second plane hit. It was then I felt like something was wrong,” Nelken said. “I remember also calling my uncle who lives in New York to make sure he was okay as the attacks were happening. He first hand witnessed everyone walking across Brooklyn Bridge as the subways and all transportation were pretty much halted. “

“I was a junior at Plano Senior High, and I was at morning marching band practice,” social Wiseman said. “Because we didn’t all have cell phones yet, I didn’t know anything was wrong when I went to my first period class. We watched as the towers burned and then the second tower fell live on TV.”

Learning about 9/11 both in, and out of school, junior Simon Pham thinks 9/11 has affected America greatly.

“9/11 has really impacted America in many different ways, many Americans still think of 9/11 as an excuse to be Islamophobic, but there are also many Americans who grieve and also forgive and appreciate our safety today,” Pham said. “I believe that 9/11 was indeed a tragedy and that there were people at fault and there were victims who have every right to grieve.”

Teachers such as Nelken think students should be informed about 9/11 and how it impacted America.

I was picked up from school and I remember just kind of sitting in my living room and watching the live news footage which was a replay of the time of what was going on and we were trying to get in contact with my dad,”

— Schiumo

“I think students should learn and know about 9/11, just as they do any historical event. Many students were born around the 9/11 era and the world has been different ever since,” she said. “It shaped many foreign and domestic policies. It was a defining moment in history, even though it was very tragic.”

Schiumo hopes that students understand both the severity, and America’s overcoming of the 9/11 attacks.

“I just want the kids to understand that you know when we talk about September 11th, 2001 this is something that we have had affect us close to home,” Schiumo said. “Luckily one of the only things that has really ever happened of that significance in the United States and it’s just so important to understand that you know though bad happened, we were able to band together as a country and a community and focus on the people that needed help at that time.”