COPPERAS COVE — Second-grade students at House Creek Elementary commemorated 9/11 and its first responders by learning about their local fire and police departments, among several other activities Wednesday.
“What we shared is what they needed to know about 9/11 as a second-grader,” said Breanne Turner, a second-grade teacher who helped organize local firefighters and police officers coming to the campus.
Her class spent a portion of the day talking about first responders and their responsibility for helping protect and serve the community, which also is a means of teaching good citizenship, Turner said.
“We tend to focus on the first responder and how they are here to keep
kids safe,” House Creek Principal Larea Gamble said. “A big part of curriculum in elementary school is about community.”
Cove firefighters Charles Johnson and Jay Foster and the police department’s Joseph Diaz and Dominique Moore explained the two departments’ various roles to the students.
“I am not doing it for my home. I am doing it for you,” Diaz said. “I am going out there every day to protect you.”
Diaz told the children about the different jobs of police officers, from patrolling to SWAT team response. He also explained to the children what to do if a stranger tried to kidnap them.
Johnson and Foster showed off the department’s various equipment but also told the children how they could help firefighters do their jobs by calling 911 during emergencies, knowing their addresses, phone numbers and taking some safety measures.
“It is good to get out in the community and to put a face to the name, so we are not just the fire department,” Johnson said.
Meeting the firefighters was exciting for Abigail Jones, 7, she said.
“They were teaching us what they do,” Abigail said. “They are really important.”
Every time Abigail hears sirens go by, she said, she prays for the officers and firefighters, because she doesn’t want them to get hurt.
Caden Walthers, 7, also said both the public servants serve an important part of the community and helped save lives during 9/11.
“They are helping us with fires and bad people,” Caden said.
Having guest speakers come and talk to the students is a great way for the students to get firsthand experience of some of the things they are learning, Turner said.
“Teaching good citizenship is important because it starts here,” Turner said. “Seeing those real-world examples with first responders brings it to life.”
Multiple classes also were visited by the school’s adopt-a-unit, which read books to students.
“Our adopt-a-school unit gets a hero’s treatment ... because our kids really see them as heroes,” Gamble said.