PACE Academy Tribute
Watching the coverage of the many terrorist attacks on the city of Paris was a painful reminder of what we, as a nation, went through on 9/11. France is one of America’s oldest allies, and they have never been shy about showing their support for the United States when we were in need. They, along with most of the rest of the world, stood by us in the aftermath of the attacks in New York and Washington. Now, they were facing their own “9/11;” I wanted to do something to show our support for another country in mourning. The idea of creating a human replica of the French flag came to me. The entire intervention department got involved. We had the students wear the colors of the French flag (blue – grades 3-5, white – grades 6-8, and red – grades k-2). Then we organized the students in the gym in stripes of blue, white and red, according to their shirt colors to recreate the flag of France.
In order to honor the slain students in Kenya, we had a couple of classes of art students recreate the Kenya flag. After the pictures of the French flag, we had the students come forward with their flags of Kenya, in the shape of a heart, and took their picture.
Next, we wanted to pay homage to the victims of the bombing in Lebanon that took place the day before Paris. One of our teachers brought in a blanket with the flag of Lebanon on it and we had students gather around it and hold it up for pictures. All in all, I think it was a roaring success.
I’m still encouraging teachers and students to make cards and/or write letters that I can deliver to the American Consulates in Paris, Lebanon and Kenya with messages of sympathy for those lives lost and encouragement for those left behind picking up the pieces.
I remember the outpouring of love the US received after 9/11 from all over the world, and I think it’s important that we respond in kind to those countries now under attack. One of the important things that grew out of this project is the conversations that I had with my two 7th grade classes about how and why things like this happen. I encouraged my students to continue these conversations at home with their families. I hope other teachers had the same experiences I did. Several teachers did tell me that they appreciated the notes included in my emails, offering ideas for how to broach the subject with various grades and ages of students.
I’m very proud of this tribute. It makes me sad that there was a need to this outpouring of support, but it was amazing to see everyone come together for this event. Thank you for supporting this effort.”
– Ms. Linda Kennard