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The day that changed America

On Sept. 11, students define what is a hero

September 11, 2013 - Brandon Twp.- Lacey Culvey doesn't remember the day two planes crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane crashed into the Pentagon, and a fourth plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field.

Lacey was just one-year-old on Sept. 11, 2001 and grateful she can not recall firsthand the horror of the worst terrorist attacks to occur on U.S. soil.

"I'm glad I don't remember, it would be terrifying," said Lacey, an eight grade student at Brandon Middle School. "It's really scary to think about not being safe."

Taryn Vlad, also a BMS eighth grader, agreed.

"Sept. 11 shows are too sad— I don't watch them."

On Wednesday, the 12th anniversary of the day that changed America, the girls worked on a project in Jason Sheldon's U.S. history class. On the center of a large sheet of paper, they and two friends, Rachel Devine and Kirsten Siver, wrote what the word "Hero" meant to them.

"A hero to me is someone who does an act of kindness for for someone, whether it's saving a life or opening a door for someone," said Rachel.

The hero lesson, Sheldon explained, was not just for the girls and the first-hour history class, but something that was happening schoolwide. In fact, "Heroes" is the theme of the first "Mix it up" lesson, a series which will continue all year, with one per month, covering themes which also include empathy and courage and teaching basics that reach far beyond reading, writing and arithmetic.

"The objective is to make them think about being selfless, helping others and serving the community," said Sheldon.

He noted that since his class does not remember the events of 9/11, they will be assigned to interview someone who does remember that day.

"They are going to be historians," he said. "I usually learn as much as they do. I learn about them and their families."

He turns to the class and instructs them to write down someone who is a hero to each of them now that they've thought about what a hero is.

Taryn Vlad, was already asked who her hero is and readily answered, "My hero is my Dad and Jesus. My Dad taught me to appreciate what I have and I don't take things for granted because of him. And Jesus is my hero because he forgave me my sins and died on the cross for all of us."

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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