Schools participate in 9/11 ceremonies

mgaytan@losbanosenterprise.comSeptember 13, 2013 

— More than 400 students gathered around the flag pole at Volta Elementary School Wednesday to honor the tragic events that took place on Sept. 11, 2001.

More than 900 students did the same at Henry Miller Elementary School in Los Banos.

“We have done this every year,” said Principal of the school, Jan Whitehurst. “We are honoring the people who died on 9/11 and all of the first responders around the country.”

After students recited the Pledge of Allegiance, Susanna Hepworth, a second grade teacher and organizer, read the students a story of events of what happened that day. Students also recited the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.

The ceremony itself is something Hepworth said is important to do for the children.

“I think it’s something they need to know about,” she said. “We need to come together and be a country that inspires and helps each other out.”

Educating the students about what happened 12 years ago is imperative to school staff since most of the students weren’t even around when the tragedy took place.

“Some of them are shocked that something like this could happen,” she said. “And some of them are inspired.”

Over at Henry Miller Elementary, fifth-grader Chance Porter read a speech that he wrote himself, detailing the 9/11 attacks.

“It was wonderful,” said Assistant Principal Thelma Blarer. “The students were very respectful, courteous, and shook the hands of the veterans. Many of the children just wanted to thank the veterans personally.”

The memorial and flag-raising ceremony was a first for the school but Blarer was so pleased with it that she said it is something they will do every year.

“It was very moving and emotional for teachers,” she added.

Reporter Marina Gaytan can be reached at (209) 826-3831, ext. 6562, or

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