In Coupeville, 9/11 means tolerance

We’re trying to show that the world really is a place for all of us to share, and to learn to tolerate each other’s differences. - File photo
We’re trying to show that the world really is a place for all of us to share, and to learn to tolerate each other’s differences.
— image credit: File photo

Teachers in the Coupeville School District have spent long hours contemplating how they will teach their students about the historic and social impacts of last year’s Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

It’s a difficult task, with each student requiring a different agenda according to age-specific requirements.

However, Coupeville Superintendent Bill Myhr said that he’s been impressed with how each teacher has decided to go about instilling the difficult lesson of this most infamous anniversary.

“I’m quite pleased with what the teachers have come up with,” Myhr said. “They’ve made it very age appropriate, and they’ve also gotten to the essence of the event” which, he added, is all about healing.

Myhr said a handful of activities have been planned to commemorate today’s Sept. 11 anniversary.

Last year, students of high school teacher Mark Gale, including Jennifer Boyer and Jessica Bowling, produced a video that compares the Sept. 11 attacks with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.

“It’s very tastefully done,” Myhr said. “It draws parallels between the two events.”

The video will be shown to Coupeville high school students. Also, the middle/high school ASB developed what Myhr calls “a giant art project” of the world. Students will affix personal messages about peace to various parts of the globe.

“We’re going to have our students write little messages on how to help the world heal itself,” Myhr said.

Students will tape their messages to this “world ball,” Myhr added. “That’ll be a very healthy thing.”

The name of the project, according to middle/high school principal Phyllis Textor, is “The Healing World.” Textor said she originally got the idea from a similar project showcased at last week’s Bumbershoot festival in Seattle.

The sculpture itself has been developed by high school ASB representatives, with the infrastructure created out of wire hoops.

All day today, Sept. 11, students (all 650 of them, Textor said) will be placing their messages in colored bags and placing them around the globe.

“Eventually the entire sculpture will be covered in wishes,” Textor said.

Textor said middle school students also will view a video called “Remembering September 11,” which provides a historical perspective on the attacks.

Elementary teachers as well have prepared an assembly to memorialize the event. Everything will revolve around Gov. Gary Locke’s proclaimed moment of silence, which in Coupeville will take place at noon.

Myhr said the message driving all of these projects and assemblies is “character education.”

Students at all levels will be made aware of the personal values of tolerance and understanding, and how their actions resonate both locally and on a global scale.

“We’re building it around compassion and caring,” Myhr said of teachers’ plans for Sept. 11, 2002. “We’re trying to show that the world really is a place for all of us to share, and to learn to tolerate each other’s differences.”

Through such activities, he added, “this will be a healthy plan to use this unfortunate event as a teachable moment.”

Myhr said the school district also has encouraged parents to share in their childrens’ education by attending memorial assemblies.

“I feel pretty comfortable with what we’ve come up with,” Myhr said.

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