Bellmore-Merrick Hosts Districtwide Day of Remembrance Events

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Through their One Voice, One Message program, the Central High School District added a third day to their community service-driven efforts in honor of 9/11. The districtwide Day of Remembrance included reflection, donations and author visits.

“I hope that this date will always be a reminder of the strength and resilience of Americans in the days immediately following September 11, 2001 and the importance of volunteerism and giving service to your community,” wrote Calhoun High School Principal Nicole Hollings in an email to parents and guardians. “Even the smallest acts of service and the simplest acts of kindness are a way to honor those lost and reclaim the spirit of unity that followed September 11, 2001.

Through their English classes, students in all six buildings collected toiletry items to be donated to homeless veterans. 
“We thank our local first responders for their dedication to protecting our community,” said Kennedy Principal Gerard Owenburg. “We also remember the many Americans who have served and are currently serving in our nation’s military, many of whom enlisted as a response to the 9/11 attacks.”

On various days, students at Merrick Avenue and Grand Avenue middle schools participated in a gallery walk, reflecting on images of memorials from 9/11 to answer the question, “how do people respond to tragedy?”

All schools also observed a moment of silence on Sept. 12, as schools were closed in observance of Rosh Hashana on Sept. 11. In buildings, students then transitioned between periods in silence as well. 

“This allowed everyone to reflect and pay respect to those lost on September 11,” said Mepham High School Principal Eric Gómez.

On Sept. 14, Merrick Avenue welcomed author, Nora Raleigh Baskin, who wrote “Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story,” which was the summer reading selection for incoming seventh-graders.

Baskin held a question-and-answer after and book signing after each presentation. A writing workshop focused on the process of writing a book, starting with historical research and personal interviews necessary for her to gain real life information and experiences. 

The book is about the 24 hours before 9/11 that unfolded for four very different children.
“I wrote this book to show that 9/11 didn’t just happen to those that live in NYC,” Baskin said. “This was the first event that was broadcast on television before we knew what was happening. People everywhere in the country began thinking where was going to be next. This was a trauma that everyone experienced.”

She also touched on themes of kindness and interconnectivity.   

“We hope students learned about compassion, respect and enduring strength in the face of tragedy,” said Adeline Atkins, a district English chairperson.

Author Gae Polisner visited Calhoun to discuss her book, “The Memory of Things,” a novel about 9/11 which was a schoolwide summer reading assignment. 

Various guest speakers shared their connections and experiences on and after 9/11 as well. 

“The students, who were not born at the time of 9/11/01, had the opportunity to speak with those impacted in various ways,” said Kim Serpe, an English chairperson.

Boswell’s Deli in Merrick donated lunch for the speakers.