Gastineau students honor attack victims with project

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Fifth-grade students at Gastineau Elementary School recently completed a project that helped them memorialize the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks - and gain a sense of the scope of the loss of life.

"After the terrorist attack, it seemed really obvious to me that the kids were still wrestling with how to deal with it ... and I wanted to do something that gave a feeling of hope," teacher Cinda Stanek said.

Stanek remembered a story of the Ojibwa, a Native American group of the upper Midwest, who believed that when a person died they began a journey that led to the northern lights, and eventually they became a star in the sky.

Students from Stanek's and fifth-grade teacher Monika Haygood's classes took 30 sheets of black paper and glued 200 white "stars," created by paper punches, to each sheet. The completed project - with 6,000 stars, one for each victim of the attacks - was then assembled in a block on a school hallway wall.

"We put them all together, and (students) were rather stunned by the visual of how many that is," Stanek said.

"At first it was hard for us to understand what 6,000 would be like," wrote fifth-grader Dannah Honse, who worked on the project. "Now we know."

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