High Schoolers Mark 9/11 Anniversary with Poignant Interviews

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Freshmen and sophomores in English and history teacher Greg Kguloian’s classes recently marked the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks with a special project. The students were tasked with interviewing people who were older than 14 on Sept. 11, 2001, and then writing brief narratives on the interviewees’ memories and points of view.

“These students were either not born yet or just born when these real-life events took place,” said Kguloian. “The project gave them a chance to open a dialog about this turning point in American history. It was designed to make the learning experience more relevant to them than if it was treated like just another chapter in modern American history. Knowledge is power, and it is my job to give my students the tools and opportunity to discover and verify veracity and to learn from and about the truth. I ultimately want them to communicate with others and then be able to adequately and accurately represent the facts.”

The students worked in groups to brainstorm ideas about what and how to research and report about people’s real recollections about that tragic day, before conducting the interviews as well as formal research to further their understanding of 9/11, citing verifiable factual information about the events at the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

“Some of these interviews that my students did were extremely personal and poignant,” said Kguloian after reviewing their efforts. He accompanied the project with a screening of home video footage he made with his family on 9/11. “By showing them my home movies from that time, I hope I was able to let them see that their teacher is a real person, with a life and a family outside of school, and let them understand that I will be open and honest with them,” he said.