Students Volunteer in Remembrance of 9/11

As seen in the Campbell Express newspaper.

Middle School students stain the Gomes Park sign.

In honor of September 11, seventeen students from Delphi Academy teamed up with the City of Campbell and worked for three hours on September 11 to complete Phase 1 of a beautification project in Joseph Gomes Park. The project involved removing plants and shrubs that were not thriving under the tree canopy, relocating decorative stones, painting a base coat on the De Anza monument and staining the Gomes Park sign.

Prior to the project, the students learned about the 9/11 tragedy, the sacrifices made by first responders and other citizens to rescue people, and met with a young American soldier to talk about his personal contributions to the nation's safety. Although none of the students had been born in 2001 when the event took place, the lessons they learned struck a chord.

"It's important to do something on the day because you're commemorating all the people who were lost and it makes you remember them," said Jojo Koley, 7th grade student.

"Other people gave their lives to help people in the buildings, so it's good that we give back on the day the Twin Towers were gone," added Josephine Tzou, 8th grader.

Students work to remove plants according to the city's plan.

The students worked energetically to dig out the plants, cut back the shrubs and load the bushes into the city truck. Some had not used the various tools before but were using them expertly by the time the project completed.

"The kids really got into it. They were working hard, giving back, getting dirty and getting things done," said teacher David Nguyen. "I was impressed at their passion and resilience, working together on some tough tasks. By the end, they were tired but really proud."

"The hardest part was moving the rocks," reported Darshna Kulkarney, 8th grade student. "They were heavy and there were so many of them!"

Students form a chain to move rocks to the new garden bed.

The teachers shared their own personal memories of 9/11 with the class. Melissa Agrillo was in elementary school at the time and recalled the shock of the day. "I discovered that the kids didn't really understand what it was and why we have a day of remembrance," she said. "So we planned several current events topics to tie in with it and I was very excited about this project to allow them to give back. It was a really good bonding activity for them and they worked well together in teams to accomplish some tough tasks."

"It didn't feel like that much work," said Jojo Koley. "It felt like it was fun so I never got tired of it. I liked when people praised us as they walked or drove by, so that made me feel good."

Delphi Academy is a private, K-8 school located at the Campbell Community Center next to the Heritage Theater.

Students rake leaves, dig out plants slated for removal and trim bushes at Gomes Park on September 11.

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