Local teacher remembers 9/11 and continues to educate students 21 years later
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) - SUNDAY IS THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE 9/11 ATTACKS. WHILE MANY REMEMBER THE DAY VIVIDLY, THERE’S A NEW GENERATION OF STUDENTS WHO DO NOT. in many ways, it's up to TEACHERs to help KEEP THE MEMORY ALIVE, 21 YEARS LATER.
GROVETOWN HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER, LAURA WADDELL SAYS that THROUGH HER EYES IT WAS A DAY THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING. A SERIES OF AIRLINE HIJACKINGS: 2 PLANES HIT THE TWIN TOWERS AND A THIRD AT THE PENTAGON. WADDELL WAS A 6TH GRADER WHEN SHE HEARD THE NEWS. although, SHE STILL REMEMBERS SEPTEMBER 11TH, HER STUDENTS DO NOT. Which is why she feels a senses of responsibility to educate them. “WHEN I TALK TO MY STUDENTS ABOUT IT, i always tell them THAT YOU COULDN’T ESCAPE IT, THE IMAGES WERE EVERYWHERE.” IT WAS A FORMATIVE EXPERIENCE FOR HER CHILDHOOD THAT SHAPED HOW SHE GREW UP, not only AS AN AMERICAn but as A CITIZEN IN HER COMMUNITY.
COMING FROM A PATRIOTIC BACKGROUND, Waddell ALWAYS WANTED TO TELL THE AMERICAN STORY, SOMETHING THAT SHE SAYS 9/11 FURTHER MOTIVATED. WHEN SHE STARTED TEACHING, 10 years ago, IT WAS still FRESH. mANY STUDENTS HAD FAMILY INVOLVED, WHICH FOSTERED CONVERSATION. now, each of her STUDENTS HAS NEVER KNOWN A LIFE WITHOUT SEPTEMBER 11, WHICH IS WHY SHE SAYS TALKING TO THEM ABOUT LIFE BEFORE IS REALLY IMPORTANT, NOW MORE THAN EVER.
IT’S SOMETHING THAT WADDELL makes a point to teach IN HER AP WORLD HISTORY CLASS. ALTHOUGH, IT’S NOT A HISTORY STANDARD FOR GEORGIA. A RECENT STUDY OF SOCIAL STUDIES STANDARDS FOUND THAT 26 STATES MENTION THE ATTACKS, 9 MENTION TERRORISM OR THE WAR ON TERROR, wHILE 16 DO noT MENTION 9/11 AT ALL.
BUT, WITH STUDENTS SO REMOVED FROM IT, HOW DO YOU ENGAGE THEM? “I THINK THAT TRYING TO MAKE SOME SORT OF REAL LIFE CONNECTION WHETHER IT BE HOW HAS THIS IMPACTED YOUR LIFE TODAY OR HOW HAS THIS IMPACTED YOUR FAMILY IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO DO AS A TEACHER. HOW IS THIS RELEVANT TO ME AND WHEN AM I GOING TO NEED TO KNOW THIS?” Waddell says. she believes THAT OVER TIME, IT will only become MORE DIFFICULT, TO MAKE IT RELEVANT. to help with this, SHE ENCOURAGES PARENTS TO HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH THEIR KIDS ABOUT 9/11 AND THE THINGS THAT RESULTED FROM IT LIKE THe PATRIOT ACT. in hopes THAT HER 10TH GRADERS AND OTHERS WILL NEVER FORGET THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES AND THOSE WHO ARE STILL FIGHTING FOR OUR FREEDOM.
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