Education

Plainfield Public Schools Children Honor 9/11 Heroes

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Credits: Plainfield Public Schools
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Evergreen School’s children, teachers, and staff at a raising of the flag ceremony. Credits: Plainfield Public Schools
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Joel Cordoba, 10; Evergreen Principal Ms. BJ Brown Lawson; Mr. Rodney Taylor, Head Custodian at Evergreen; Odalys Lorenzo, 11; and David Ramirez, 10. Credits: Plainfield Public Schools
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Rodney Taylor, Head Custodian at Evergreen, speaking to fifth graders at Evergreen School Credits: Plainfield Public Schools
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Mr. Taylor speaking to fifth graders at Evergreen School Credits: Plainfield Public Schools
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Mr. Taylor speaking to fifth graders at Evergreen School Credits: Plainfield Public Schools
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Mr. Taylor speaking to fifth graders at Evergreen School Credits: Plainfield Public Schools
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Ms. McIntosh Class at Barach Obama Academy for the Academic & Civic Development Credits: Plainfield Public Schools
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Ceremonies held in the classroom and outdoors to mark the 16th Anniversary of the Attacks on the World Trade Center, and in Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.

PLAINFIELD, NJ – Plainfield Public School students honored victims of “9/11” on Monday with events marking the 16th Anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, and in Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.  The children at Evergreen Elementary School held presentations in the classroom, and on the school grounds, where former United States Marines spoke about the importance of service to the United States. 

Head custodian Mr. Rodney Taylor, Mr. Harvey Nicks, and Vice Principal Juan Pablo Jimenez addressed the children. The children read essays they wrote giving thanks to the first-responders and to those who fought back to save others. 

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Mr. Taylor, a former Ammunitions Technician, who served for more than six years, spoke to the fifth graders about his journey as a 17-year-old from Plainfield.  He said it was a great career that took him around the world to places such as Japan, the Philippines, Germany and France.

Mr. Nicks, who served as a radio technician for four years, said, “It was a great experience I loved, and if I had a chance to do it all over again, I would.”

Vice Principal Juan Pablo Jimenez, who served for five years on the USS Lake Erie, said, “Today we honor those who died and those who served on that tragic day. We also celebrate the human spirit and how we can come together, united as one, and make good things happen.”

Many of the teachers and staff also spoke about 9/11. Ms. Karen Natapoff, an elementary school guidance counselor said, “the first thing I remember about 9/11, was that it was a beautiful day, somewhat like today, and it seems unreal to talk about 9/11 today because so many of the students were not born yet.  It seems so far away that something so tragic like that happened.”  She said the children need to know and learn about 9/11.

Clinton School Principal, Mr. Dion Roach, remembers he was working at his school and people were in a panic after hearing the news. His brother worked at the WTC but luckily he was stopped at Jersey City before he could go any further. He said, “hopefully we will never repeat the mistakes of that day and never let something so serious happen to Americans ever again.”

Ms. Sakina Calder, a high school counselor at Barack Obama Academy for Academic and Civic Development, said there was a lot of fear on 9/11 but she remembers a “country that came together and rebuilt slowly one a time. However, we need to remember those who lost their lives in a senseless killing, and unfortunately our children today don’t know enough about 9/11. We need to educate them about what we have been through as a country and we need to know our past so we can correct the future.”

Students in Ms. Elizabeth McIntosh’s class read historical essays written about the attacks and held individual discussions about how they felt about that day, and how it relates to them today. Many said it was “hard to understand because many people don’t talk about it anymore.”

For more information, please contact Gloria Montealegre, Community Engagement Liaison, 908-731-4333 or email gmontealegre@plainfield.k12.nj.us.

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