HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – As the country prepares to mark 20 years since the Sept. 11 attacks, one Hillsborough County Public School teacher is working to teach her students, who were not born yet, the magnitude of that day.
Lauren Leto is a Social Studies teacher at Strawberry Crest High School. She was in seventh grade when the 9/11 attacks happened. And now, 20 years later, she is using a letter she wrote as part of a middle school assignment to help teach her students about that tragic day.
“The letter just kind of asks to reflect on what were your initial thoughts, how did that change your perception of the world for a middle schooler. There was a lot of fear,” Leto said.
Leto wrote the letter in the eighth grade on the first anniversary as part of a school assignment and has kept the letter ever since.
She read the letter for the first time on the 10th anniversary, her first year as a school teacher. Now for only the second time, she read the letter again, sharing her thoughts and feelings with her students.
“It makes you think a lot more about how uncertain they felt and how they just didn’t know what was going on in the moment. And it’s just scary to think. You can never know how that feels because we’ve never been through something like that,” said student, Gracie Edgemon.
Leto wants her students to understand and emphasize how people came together to help one another during the tragedy.
“The human events of that day, the people who were the helpers, I always trying to emphasize that with the kids now. About being the good person in the midst of the chaos and how can you support others in a time of crisis,” she added.