The students’ homework assignment was to ask a parent, sibling, relative, or neighbor to share a memory of September 11, 2001, and write it down.
The next day, teachers divided the class into small groups and students shared the 9-11 narratives they’d heard. The teenagers listened closely—each story illuminated a new aspect of the day they’d grown up in the shadow of.
“My dad was working at Windows on the World . . .”
“My mom walked home.”
“They packed up and drove to Poughkeepsie.”
“She was scared to drink the water.”
Catherine Torrisi, an English teacher, and Patty Hinkley, a social studies teacher, brought the class together to watch a short film featuring survivors’ stories of that day. They also read Zahra Huber’s essay, “A Muslim-American Perspective.”
“What makes each of these stories different?” asked Torrisi.
“Where people lived,” answered one student.
“How old they were,” added another.
“Their culture,” was heard from several students at once.
“Yes!” encouraged Hinkley. “So, what stories are we missing?”