History students in Northgate High School teacher Jim Rew’s class decided to translate their history lessons into action by serving local children. That call to service led them to helping clean up a special needs ball field in Peachtree City.
While teaching his students about 9/11 during the 10-year anniversary of the event, Rew used his lessons as a “teachable moment” to analyze his student’s responses to the attacks on the United States.
“These students were in the first grade when the 9/11 attack took place, but many shared their memories of that tragic day in class. Several of my students talked about the bravery of the firemen that continued to try to save others as the towers were coming down,” Rew said. “Students said they would like to do something to honor those that served. The discussion involved visiting the elderly, taking food to the local police and firemen, or other projects. Several students wanted to help others, particularly, to do some kind of public service.”
Rew works with special needs baseball youth teams and knew about a municipal baseball field in Peachtree City they used that needed tending. The field was overgrown to the point that the baselines were indistinguishable from the infield grass.
“We talked about taking on that project, and I told them that I was going to go there on a Saturday to do it, and that anyone who wanted could join me,” said Rew.
Rew said he went to the field on a Saturday morning with tools in hand, expecting a few students to come. Instead, 32 students turned out with shovels, rakes, and leaf blowers in hand to help clear the field for the children who used it.
“I thought this would be a terrific way to remember and honor those that gave their lives for others. I really enjoyed helping others and making a difference,” said student Juan Roach.
“I was blown away by the efforts of the students that showed up to help others,” said Rew. “Here was a beautiful Saturday morning and 32 young people working in the sun and dirt sweating for others. Some even brought their parents. I have a new respect for the younger generation.”
Student Jordan Griffie explained that not only was this a way to honor the 911 heroes, but “I have a cousin that has special needs and I was doing it for kids like my cousin too.”
“I was amazed at how great the field looked before and after. It was really awesome to see all the students working together” said junior Tyler Sisk.
Guilia Middei commented that not only was it a great cause to remember 9/11, but “the look on the players’ faces were priceless.”
Northgate softball player, Andie Martin, agreed. “Not only was this great for the community, but the most fun was watching them play afterwards.”