“After September 11th, heroes of all kinds were seen all over our country,” read seventh grade social studies teacher Susan Barbato on Friday. “What is a hero? The definition is ‘a person who is admired, who has courage, and shows outstanding achievements,’ and this is exactly what was witnessed after the horrible events of September 11th.”
Barbato’s reading was part of an interdisciplinary day of remembrance at Henry H. Wells Middle School honoring the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Throughout the day, students visited Wells’ courtyard and listened to Barbato give a short reading on the meaning of heroes before heading inside to paste a personalized red, white or blue heart on a HEROES banner by the cafeteria.
The messages students wrote were heartfelt and unifying, ranging from “We will never forget” to “Even the simplest act of kindness is a way to honor those we lost.”
Superintendent Dr. Laurie Bandlow and Board of Education trustee Scott Seaman joined students in the courtyard for a very special tree planting. National Junior Honor Society members Caylie Constantin, Harrison Dakin, Lily Katsetos, and Cole Wilson helped cover two trees that were planted in the courtyard.
“These two trees will grow with us and will be here to commemorate 9/11 for years to come,” said Principal Christian Hernandez. “They are symbolic of our remembrance of the victims, survivors and heroes. Similar to the towers, they’re planted in a way where they’ll grow and not touch.”
The importance of the day’s events was not lost on students.
“I think the tree planting activities were important because it's vital to not only remember the lives that were lost, but also those who survived,” said eighth grader Caylie Constantin. “They are living, breathing, proof that we, as a country, will persevere.”
Assistant Principal Alicia Manguso noted that the day’s interdisciplinary, community-building activities were truly a work of collaboration.
“It was a beautiful, symbolic day,” Manguso said. “A huge shout out goes out to Jane Abrantes, Sue Barbato, Mike Bellucci, Anthony Chiesa, Jennifer Cormier, Glen Freyer, Glenn Palmieri, and Irene Othmer for all their help in preparing.”