9/11 – Teaching the history lesson of our lifetime

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© Tiffany israel/OUHSD
Mr. Staples teaches a lesson on September 11th to students who were only 4 or 5 years old with the attacks happened. © Tiffany israel/OUHSD

Mr. Staples, Social Science teacher at Adolfo Camarillo High School, was asked by his principal to teach a special lesson, something he does with ease, with spirit, with enthusiasm. He was asked to teach about the tragedy of September 11, 2001 in remembrance of the ten year anniversary. His class, students who were 4 or 5 years old at the time listened as Mr. Staples took a tragedy, a historical event, a ‘teachable’ moment and brought it to life.

The lesson started out with students interacting with a simple question, “Name a person or event that changed history.” Teenagers who later that night would go to a football game and enjoy their friends and high school socializing remembered their past lessons. They remembered not only their lessons from ACHS, but their lessons from middle school and elementary school. They quickly answered row by row with names like Henry Ford, Rosa Parks, the Wright Brothers, Martin Luther King Jr. and events like the Civil War, Pearl Harbor, and 9/11. Mr. Staples encouraged each answer, provided more information when needed, and encouraged their knowledge of history.

Mr. Staples talked about his personal experience of knowing someone directly involved immediately after 9/11/01 and the pride he had towards his friend. They discussed symbols of the United States of America including the Bald Eagle and the Statue of Liberty. His lesson reminded those students who knew the history of 9/11 or those who knew little that the terrorists’ objective was to break the American spirit. They wanted to take our peace by hitting specific targets: Commerce (the World Trade Center), Military (the Pentagon), the Government and the policies which the USA stands for. They hit two of the targets but not the White House or another symbol of our government. Our policies and who we are they could not take.

Mr. Staples reminded students that they need to question, they need to learn and they need to continue their education about events and people who changed history. The students listened as the class period seemed to end very quickly. As the bell rang for lunch and another ceremony by the Honor Society, the students left the class one by one as Mr. Staples recognized each one at the door.

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