Pleasantdale Elementary students filled the school’s gymnasium to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks Friday morning. After reciting the pledge of allegiance and singing our national anthem, representatives from all three fifth grade classes took the stage to deliver age-appropriate short messages detailing the events of that fateful day 10 years ago.
The students read from note cards talking about how “it was a sad day and many people lost their lives.” As to our nation’s response in the wake of the attacks, fifth grade student Samuel Louis-Charles said “our country was united.” He continued, “everywhere you looked there was an American flag flying.” Behind him an image of the Twin Towers with an American Flag superimposed on top of them was displayed on the screen.
After the speeches, the students observed a moment of silence.
Music teacher Rita Davidson, then accompanied the students as they sang songs such as “What a Wonderful World,” “Grand Old Flag” and “America America.”
With school beginning this week, Pleasandale fifth grade teachers, Doug Norrie, Maria Larezza and Amy Pacifico, only had one day to prepare the students for the presentation. The majority of the fifth grade students are 10 years old. “Most of the students know stories or someone whose lives were impacted by the events from their parents,” Larezza told Patch. She went on to say, “some of them had family members there and they shared stories with the class.”
As to relaying how the events of the day unfolded in a classroom setting Norrie told Patch “it’s a very touchy subject. We don’t go into specifics. We keep it very general.” Larezza said, “after the assembly we bring them back to the classroom and talk about any questions keeping in mind they are still young.”
Pleasantdale Principal Joanne Pollara told Patch she wanted the students “to understand as a nation we went through a terrible tragedy but we are safer now.” Pollara went on say how she wanted to give a balance between “giving them a historical perspective” while addressing that “young children feel a concern about their own safety.”
The assembly concluded with Pollara addressing the students. “What a wonderful assembly you put together in one day,” she said. Regarding the events that transpired 10 years ago, she told the students that their “parents, teachers, grandparents will be able to tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing that day.” She added, “it was very sad.” As to how it affects the students today the principal relayed, “our country became aware of what the grownups need to do to keep each and every one of you safe.”
Pollara ended the ceremony by telling the students she wished “the days in your life where you remember exactly where you were are filled with joy and promise.”