By Brian Knox
Originally published Thursday, September 20, 2001
When our nation faces a challenge, such as a massive terrorist attack, people have a tendency to come together for a common goal.
It is true even in our schools.
Several students all over Wise County decided to take action over the past week, hitting the classrooms and the streets, collecting donations for the American Red Cross to assist with the victims of Tuesday’s terrorist attacks.
Deborah Hilton teaches a student leadership class at Decatur High School. She said after spending the first part of the year trying to inspire her students to be leaders, many have become great leaders in the last few days in a way that has even inspired her.
“They were on this so fast. They spread out over the school, collected cans, found markers, decorated some boxes to take into classrooms (to collect money) and they went into the classrooms and stood in the hallways. I’ve never seen them move so fast on anything before … They collected $354 on Wednesday alone,” she said.
“I think it inspired them so much. A teacher gave them a check for $100. I think that made them stop and think about what we were gathering the money for. Everybody wanted to do something. A couple of kids who hadn’t led much up to that point really got into it and became good leaders,” she added.
Several of the students also pooled together money from their own pockets to buy white ribbon to tie on the antennas of vehicles at the school and in the community.
On Thursday, Hilton’s class was at city hall working on making red, white and blue ribbons to hand out at school on Friday as a way of remembering the victims and showing support for the United States.
Similar activities are going on all around the county. The student council at Boyd High School is raising money for the Red Cross, collecting donations at school and football games, and they are also making red, white and blue ribbons for students and teachers to wear.
On Friday night, the high school marching band played a tribute to the victims. Taps was played by two buglers and then fans and players joined in singing “America the Beautiful.”
While students in lower grades may not have discussed much of Tuesday’s events at school, several intermediate schools held “Red, White and Blue” day Thursday in which students were encouraged to dress in their most patriotic colors.
Decatur Intermediate School has moved up its annual “penny wars” to this week to raise money for the Red Cross to help the victims of Tuesday’s attack. Last Friday, the entire campus gathered around the flagpole to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Students at Boyd Intermediate School are also doing what they can to help the victims and the rescue effort in New York and Washington by having a fund-raiser this Saturday, Sept. 22 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will include a large indoor garage sale, a bake sale, a cake walk, a car wash, a coats for kids sale, moonwalk and money donations will also be accepted. The proceeds from the fund-raiser will go to the American Red Cross. For more information on the event, contact the school at (940) 433-2327, extension 4.
In addition to setting out money jars to collect donations, Slidell High School will have a 5-kilometer run/walk with part of the proceeds going to the Red Cross and part to the senior class. The event is Saturday, Oct. 6, beginning at 7:30 a.m. The cost is $10 for people registering early and $15 for people who sign up to run on the day of the event. The first 100 people to sign up will get T-shirts. A volleyball and horseshoe tournament will also be held in conjunction with the run, and part of those proceeds will also be given to the Red Cross. For more information, call the high school at (940) 466-3118. extension 225.
Paradise High School also found a way to help those people affected by last week’s attacks during their homecoming week. Before the football game Friday night, fans from both teams circled the field and the teams met at mid field to sing the national anthem. The student council raised $550 at the game for the American Red Cross and profits from the sale of temporary tattoos also went to the relief fund. Students in grades kindergarten through 12 are now competing to see what grade can raise the most money for the relief effort.
Look for more of WCMessenger.com’s special 9/11 tribute at www.wcmessenger.com/911.