Horrors and Heroes

Fire Department visits PBJHS on Sept. 11
Posted on 09/17/2019
Isaac Cato tries on 80 pounds of firefighter gear.

Junior High world history students, who are not old enough to have lived through 9/11, learned about some of the courageous stories in response to the terrorist attacks, and then the school had a special visit from the Poplar Bluff Fire Department. 

“I wanted to find a balance between teaching the students about the tragedy of the terrorist attacks and celebrating the good that came out of it,” explained Stephanie Lovette, seventh grade teacher. “I knew that I wanted to end the unit on a positive note, so I came up with the ‘horrors and heroes’ approach.” 

On Tuesday, Sept. 10, students watched video clips about the “Boatlift,” the largest maritime evacuation conducted in the history of the United States; Welles Crowther aka “the man in the red bandana,” a volunteer firefighter who made the ultimate sacrifice as he saved as many as 18 people; and United Airlines Flight 93, the hijacked plane that crashed into a field in Pennsylvania reportedly en route to the U.S. Capitol Building when passengers and crew members attempted to regain control. 

As part of Lovette’s lesson plan, students conducted interviews with parents, neighbors and teachers regarding their accounts of witnessing the live coverage of the attacks. On Wednesday, Sept. 11, Capt. Blaine Murrell and Firefighter Andrew Fox of the PBFD discussed the challenges associated with the job. Some students volunteered to try on gear to experience the weight that the 343 FDNY members who sacrificed their lives felt as they climbed upward of 110 flights of stairs at the World Trade Center. 

“I have received so much positive feedback from students about the impact these lessons have had on them,” Lovette reflected. “The interviews, firefighter visit and hearing about the heroic efforts of American patriots resonated with these students.” 

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Cutline: Student Isaac Cato of social studies teacher Lyndsee Moon’s class tries on 80 pounds of firefighter gear, including a hose and a pickaxe, last week at PBJHS.

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