In News & Media, Teacher Awards

For the 2017 Teacher Awards Winners, the 9/11 Tribute Museum presents seven awards to teachers who have created exemplary projects that guide students to understand the historical and humanitarian impact of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993.


Todd NussenTeacher: Todd Nussen
Grades: High School
School: Oceanside High School, Oceanside, New York
Principal: Geri DeCarlo

Mr. Nussen ends his tenth grade Global History and Geography class with lessons on global citizenship. He utilizes his personal account as an Emergency Medical Technician involved in the rescue and recovery effort at the World Trade Center, as well as the account of Zahraa Khan whose family lived under Taliban rule in Afghanistan, and her experience as a young Muslim girl in New York City today. After several days exploring and learning about the effects of terrorism, student engage several citizenship projects including letter writing as a form of political activism, paying honor and tribute through creating a memorial “Field of Honor” and fundraising to purchase books for a school in Afghanistan.

Stephanie ShamahTeacher: Stephanie Shamah
Grades: High School
School: Magen David Yeshivah Celia Esses High School, Brooklyn, New York
Principal: Saul Zucker

Over the years, Ms. Shamah has taken multiple approaches to teaching students about the events of September 11th. After attending a Teacher’s Workshop at the 9/11 Tribute Center she was inspired to shift the focus from the events of 9/11 to the people impacted by the tragic events. Students were required to interview three adults who lived through the events, as well as to research one of the victims of the terrorist attack. Students presented their findings to their peers, and then the class participated in a visit to the 9/11 Tribute Center and 9/11 Memorial. The students’ final project was a video compilation based on their personal reflections.

Joseph Cataline, J.D. Walker & Linda SnappTeachers: Joseph Cataline, J.D. Walker & Linda Snapp
Grades: High School
School: Linden High School and Allen High School, Linden, New Jersey and Allen, Texas
Principal: Yelena Horre

Shortly after September 11, 2001 Ms. Snapp, Videoconferencing Coordinator for the Allen Independent School District in Texas contacted Mr. Cataline, Educational Technology Specialist for the Linden Public School in New Jersey expressing a desire for their high school students to videoconference. Students wanted to discuss the tragedy with peers in close proximity to New York City; to share emotions, questions and answers on how the events had affected daily life. Since then, these two schools have joined together electronically and through class trips to learn about, honor and remember those lost on September 11th. They have listened to Patti Hargrave, the widow of Timothy J. Hargrave, recount that horrific day in her life, visited the World Trade Center together and participated in an electronic memorial service. 

Carissa AgronTeacher: Carissa Agron
Grades: Middle School (7th grade)
School: Archimedes Academy for Math, Science, and Technology, Bronx, New York
Principal: Miriam Lazar

Seventh Grade historians at Archimedes Academy explored the events of September 11th, and through listening to oral histories made personal connections with those directly impacted by the tragedy. Ms. Agron and her class visited the 9/11 Tribute Center and heard firsthand accounts of those directly affected by the events of that fateful day. Students explored the impact and importance of oral histories and then engaged in writing letters to those affected to honor and pay tribute for the loss and sacrifices that were made. Throughout the lesson they also explored the concept of citizenship and personal civic responsibility.

Michael WeiningerTeachers: Stephen Shedden & Michael Weininger
Grades: Middle School (8th grade)
School: Bearden Middle School
Knoxville, Tennessee
Principal: Sonya Winstead

Mr. Weininger’s eighth grade class analyzed the events of September 11th utilizing multiple modalities, including oral history, still photography and journalistic interviews. After hearing retired NYPD officer and school staff member Stephen Shedden’s personal September 11th narrative, the students were encouraged to form a deeper understanding of the horrendous tragedy that occurred, and they were empowered to become keepers of the history of that day. Students showcased their understanding and connection to the events by utilizing modern technology to create short videos comparing and contrasting the areas impacted in order to educate others about the events of September 11th, 2001, and sharing these videos with the larger school community at Bearden Middle School.

Matthew GuritzTeacher: Matthew Guritz
Grades: High School
School: Hinsdale South High School, Darien, Illinois
Principal: Stephanie Palmer

Mr. Guritz’s personal connection to the tragic events of September 11th  provides the groundwork for a powerful and effective lesson plan on both the individual and global effects of terrorism. The lesson plan is highly successful in reaching students and providing both an emotional and an intellectual connection to the cause, effect, and immediate impact of the 9-11 attacks. In his lesson, Mr. Guritz shares with his students his reflections and memories of a close personal friend, Ann Nelson who was working in the World Trade Center on the fateful day. After her death, a “bucket list” of her future goals and dreams was found on her computer. Using this list, Mr. Guritz has his students reflect on their future hopes and dreams and what they would like to accomplish. Students were asked to produce two summative projects which allowed them to make both a personal and a global citizenship connection to the sacrifices made by those lost that day.

J.P. FuglerTeacher: J.P. Fugler
Grades: High School
School: Lindale High School, Lindale, Texas
Principal: Valerie Payne

Using the events surrounding September 11th as a case study, over the course of three days Mr. Fugler and his students explored the role of communication in shaping how our country experiences and processes history as it is happening. Using President Bush’s 9/11 Address to the Nation, Mr. Fugler’s students crafted their own executive consolation speech and in doing so gained empathy for national leaders without partisanship in mind. In direct juxtaposition to the concept of consolation, students also analyzed how humor is sometimes used to help cope with tragedy. Students explored firsthand how our country’s biggest comedic voices helped to heal a nation as they navigated the world of comedy after one of the most tragic days in American history.

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