Across town, the victims of 9/11 had a presence in Three Village schools last week – through music, patriotic displays and activities, and acts of community service.
What So Proudly We Hailed
At Ward Melville High School, students, faculty and staff inside the school observed a moment of silence on Friday – as a strikingly vivid row of flags waved in the wind outside at the front of the school. The display was so eye-catching it had Patch readers stopping to take photographs to send in.
"Seeing all those flags in front of the high school was overwhelming," one reader wrote. "What a powerful message we would send to the world, if citizens displayed the American flag on more than the occasional holiday."
The Gandhi Project
Students in Jennifer Trettner's advanced advertising class at Ward Melville High School have begun working on the annual Gandhi Project, in which the students design posters carrying messages of peace and love.
Operation Goody Bag
At all levels – elementary school through high school – the district began to take part last week in Operation Goody Bag, in which paper bags are decorated and filled with treats and letters for U.S. troops overseas.
The project was started by a New Jersey teacher, Jane Cosco, who said Operation Goody Bag has sent more than 200,000 goody bags to the troops to date. Her goal is to send 50,000 more by the December holidays, and expects about 5,000 of that total to come from the Three Village Central School District.
"It’s crucial," Cosco said. "Five thousand bags is one tenth of the job."
Murphy Lends a Hand
Students at Murphy Junior High participated in a "hands around Murphy" type of event in remembrance of 9/11 on Friday morning.
Students held hands in four circles around the flagpole in front of the school, and the select girls' chorus sang "America the Beautiful." Bells tolled and the flag was lowered halfway.
Principal Vincent Vizzo said students spent a lot of time throughout the week learning about 9/11 leading up to Friday morning's remembrance.
"They really don't know the exact events that took place," he said. "I think this gave them a pretty good back ground of the magnitude of what happened that day."
Gelinas Says "I Will"
Across town, at Gelinas Junior High, students watched a video called "The Spirit of Volunteerism" produced by the National 9/11 Memorial Museum. The video encourages participation in the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.
Assistant principal Tony Santana helped students understand the message of the video. Santana grew up in New York City and was still living there at the time of the attacks.
"The event touched me personally because I grew up looking at those buildings," Santana said. "The one thing I won't forget ... is the sense of togetherness we felt immediately afterward. Everyone was in it together, as horrible as it was."
Students in each of the grades signed a large banner to join the "I Will" campaign to give back to the community via an avenue of their choosing.
"I'll do a walkathon for them," seventh grader Alex pledged after she signed the banner.
"I guess maybe I will listen to my mom more often and make the word a better place," seventh grader Vincent said.