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HIS students participate in 9/11 service project

Special to the Enquirer

As part of the school’s Character Curriculum, students at Hartselle Intermediate School are remembering the events of 9/11 by participating in a service project to help those affected by recent natural disasters.

“In our Tiger Way Pledge, recited by students and teachers each morning, one of our statements is, ‘We show caring through service and kindness,’” explained fifth-grade science teacher Sonja McKelvey. “None of our students were alive at the time of 9/11, but it is such a part of our culture that they have all heard “9/11” their whole lives. As our country ages, and fewer people actually experienced the events of that day, Sept. 11 is shifting more toward a day of service as a way to honor the lives that were lost.

“We thought this was an excellent way to live out the Tiger Way.”

The project began Aug. 20 with HIS students hearing a read-aloud of the book “Fourteen Cows for America.”

“It is the true story of the Massai tribe in Africa who heard about 9/11 and wanted to do something to comfort the American people,” McKelvey said. “After hearing the story, students and teachers discussed what happened and the impact people can have to provide comfort to those who are suffering. Then we discussed people in need close to us with the flooding in Tennessee and the people in the path of Hurricane Ida. Students saw pictures of flood damage in Tennessee.

“Our project is to collect cleaning supplies to fill cleaning buckets that are collected and shipped all over the country by the Disaster Warehouse in Decatur,” McKelvey added.

Students at HIS are divided into four teams – Integrity, Hard Work, Grit and Kind – and the list of items needed for one bucket was divided among all the teams. McKelvey said the goal is to collect enough items to fill 10 complete buckets.

Next week students will be reading and discussing additional children’s books on 9/11 and participating in other activities in their homeroom classes.