NEW JERSEY (NBC NEWS) — For Americans, 9-11 lives as an infamous day in our memories when our country and the world changed in a matter of hours.
But, think about this, schools are now filled with students who never knew what life was like before the terror attacks and the aftermath followed.
For them, 9-11 is a history lesson, much like Pearl Harbor, except there’s no set curriculum.
Max Pedarino is a high school senior. On 9/11, he was one month old.
Pedalino says, “I’ve known about it my whole life.”
He’s known about it, but he and his friends are too young to have any first-hand memory of the attacks. Which explains the field trip.
Pedalino says, “the room that resonated with me the most was the one with all the faces…”
Max and his classmates went to the 9/11 museum. A plan pioneered by Social Studies Supervisor Lisa Torres.
Torres says, “For me, the most powerful room is the firefighter room. You hear the beeping. You hear that beeping and you realize people attached to locators no longer here.”
Torres worked with 9/11 family members to develop a curriculum. A way to teach high schoolers as the anniversaries grow.
Teacher Dawn Rivas reading: “there was one comment I thought moving and important for students to hear. Although we were not alive on the day of the attack, it’s very important to be aware of the seriousness and sadness this day brought.”
Torres says, “You’re teaching 9/11 like any other event. It’s becoming a kind of World War II or Vietnam War, however, the teachers themselves, most of them have an experience. A personal connection to the event.”
High School Principal Lorraine Brooks, says, “kids think they’re invincible. And nothing wrong ever happens to them. Tragedies are tragedies – and when they occur they hit everybody.”
Rivas reading: “There were flags hanging from every home.”
Teacher Dawn Rivas and other educators took special training at the museum to re-learn the timeline of events, and also to try and remain objective.
Rivas says, “I actually went three times before I brought the kids. I wanted the lay of the land and make sure my emotions were in check.”
Pedalino says, “It kind of hit me hard. How many lives were changed by it. And how massive an attack it was. “
The magnitude still sinking in to a genaration that hadn’t yet been born when the towers fell.
And the impact of the lesson plan took on deeper meaning for students at this New Jersey School. Three former students here lost their lives in the attacks.