History Through a Unique Lens

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High school students had the opportunity to learn of the heroism and tragedy of the events of September 11 through the perspective of those who have served our nation and experienced the day first hand.

Members of the Varsity Club helped organize this event along with social studies teacher Richard Acritelli who explained the mission of this program.
    
“The importance of 9/11 is seen every day with our students walking by the memorials of our four lost graduates from this day,” he said. “Over the years, the student body has been very receptive to learn about this date and its impact as described by different speakers that have addressed them.”
    
Decorated veterans, first responders, September 11 survivors and active duty service people gathered to share their personal stories and describe the worldwide effects. Each guest spoke on the facts of the attack and connected with students through a narrative that provided thoughtful insight and a deeper understanding of the political, social and emotional movements.  
    
This year’s speakers included Frank Tepedino, a former major league baseball athlete who played for the Yankees, Braves and Brewers, and played alongside Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Thurman Munson, Bobby Murcer and Bobby Cox. Following his baseball career, he began working for the New York City Fire Patrol that worked in conjunction with the New York Fire Department on 9/11. Tapedino worked with the other rescue workers to locate survivors and to help with the clean up operations.  

In addition, Chris Hardej provided a harrowing account to students as he worked on the 82nd floor of the World Trade Center during the attacks. The first plane hit the towers ten floors below his office and with his co-workers, walked down the stairs and helped others get of this building before it collapsed. Directly after these attacks, he became a lieutenant colonel in the New York Air National Guard 106th Rescue Wing and was placed on deployment to protect the nation. Chris has been sent over seas several times and just recently retired from the military. He currently donates his time to give speeches and tours of the Ground Zero site.