Brockway Elementary Sets Aside Time to Remember 9/11

BROCKWAY – Brockway Area Elementary School Principal Candace Patricelli uses the tragedy of 9/11 to remind her students of the importance of spreading love.

Patricelli has made a 9/11 observance a part of the elementary school year, having teachers discuss the day with their students and allowing students to go home and ask questions of their parents. On Wednesday, she held a solemn ceremony to remember that terrible day.

“On September 11, 2001, a great tragedy, which we will never forget, happened in America,” Patricelli said to the students. “In a few moments, we will support our country by having a brief moment of silence.”

Brockway School Resource Officer Don Routch plays the bagpipes on 9/11. (Photo by Phil Shifter).

Elementary students gathered around the pond in by the main entrance of the school. Everyone wore red, white, and blue.

In addition to Patricelli’s speech, School Resource Officer Don Routch played his bagpipes.
“Officer Routch approached me last year to ask if I would like him to play a couple of songs during our tribute,” Patricelli said. “Officer Routch and I worked together before at another school, so I remembered how wonderful he played. Of course I said yes.”

Patricelli said that Routch’s bagpipes add a moving tone to the tribute. She said that many students had not had heard bagpipes before.

“The students are all absolutely quiet as soon as the tribute begins,” Patricelli said. “Their teachers have talked to them about the importance of this day. You can feel how powerful the message of unity is as the music echoes down the hallway.”

While finding a way to get young children to internalize something as large as 9/11 can be difficult, but Patricelli gave them one practical thing they can do to honor the day.

“In remembrance of this day, I ask all of you to do one good deed,” Patricelli told the kids. “It doesn’t have to be big, and it doesn’t have to cost money. Where others try to spread hate and fear, we will choose to spend hope and kindness.”

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