Students build 9/11 tribute project
Tulsa Tech masonry students build a memorial wall and fountain
Ten years ago on September 11, over 3,000 children lost a parent, many individuals lost a partner, and others lost a brother or sister. During the last decade, thousands of first responders to the 9/11 tragedy have also suffered from exposure to harmful smoke and gasses which were present at ground zero following these terrorist attacks. Last year marked the tenth anniversary of this terrible assault on our country and Americans are remembering when our great nation came to a stop on that morning in September.
Tulsa Tech masonry students spent the first two weeks of classes last semester building a memorial wall and fountain to honor the many lives that were lost or forever changed that day. Although the memorial isn't open to the public, the project has become a tradition in Mr. Chauncey Kila's classes since he started teaching at Tulsa Tech eight years ago.
The annual project originated when Mr. Kila asked students to make a U.S. flag out of stone and tile to honor those who had fallen on that fateful day. Since then it has become so popular that he’s made it a yearly project and the first one the students tackle each fall.
"It gives them the opportunity to get in there and start working with the masonry tools," Kila said. "There's teamwork, a chance to get to know your classmates, and there's some problem-solving."
Not all of the masonry students in Mr. Kila’s class remember the events of that early autumn day but first-year student Kyle Foster remembers everything about Sept. 11, 2001.
"I was 22, so I remember where I was and everything," he said. "I probably understand it better than someone who was 6 years old."
For those who were too young to comprehend the events that took place, Mr. Kila also shows videos of the attacks, along with news reports which document America’s response during the days following the tragedy. These materials not only serve as a reminder and history lesson of what happened, but also illustrate how that single day forever changed the United States.
Foster said he's proud to have been on the team that constructed this year's memorial wall.
"It's a cool deal Mr. Kila does every year," Foster said. "And since this year was the 10th anniversary, so it's was special."
Mr. Kila teaches both a morning and afternoon masonry class and each class typically designs and builds their own memorial walls, but because of time constraints both classes worked together on the same wall.
“This year with the late start, only gave my students three weeks to come up with a design and build the wall,” Kila said.
The memorial wall is approximately seven feet tall and four feet wide with a waterfall feature running over a tile emblem with the date 9/11/01, the American flag, and the shadows of the World Trade Center towers in the shape of a pentagon. The water falls into a seven-foot-wide stone pool area with four pillars in each corner, with red, white and blue tiles, and the firefighters' Maltese Cross in the front of the pool.
The Tulsa Tech masonry classes began constructing the memorial the first week of school, and completed the project by the middle of following week.
"It's a good teaching tool," Kila said. "I'm amazed that the students can come up with something different each and every year."
If you’re currently looking for exciting classes for high school and adult students, quality business and industry training, or an opportunity to build a new career, Tulsa Tech invites you to visit today. For more information, please call 918-828-5200 or visit us online at tulsatech.edu.
About the Author
Dr. Kara Gae Neal is the Superintendent/CEO of Tulsa Tech.