HOUSTON – September 11, 2001 was a tragic day etched in history. Twenty years later, in a classroom at Beck Junior High School in Katy, many Ms. Madison Hughes ESL students hear about 9/11 for the first time.
Students also learned about the important role a small Canadian town played in Newfoundland when 38 planes carrying 6,700 people speaking more than 90 languages ââsuddenly had to land.
âI thought about how my mother would feel because she doesn’t speak English,â said Isabella Marquez, a grade 8 student at the school.
Isabella Marquez’s family is from Venezuela. Having learned English in Mrs Hughes’ class two years ago, Isabella knows firsthand how these foreigners felt during five days in Gander, Newfoundland, being in a foreign location unable to communicate verbally.
They were complete strangers who didn’t even speak another language and so it’s such a cool way that these kids realize where the perspective is coming from, âMs. Hughes said.
The students said the lesson they learned was that the true universal language is kindness, which the people of Gander have shown to anyone from elsewhere.
âI can’t imagine bringing people into your house and like bringing them pillows, food, like giving them stuff and not understanding what they were saying,â Marquez said.
After watching “Come From Away,” the hit Broadway musical in New York City, Madison, who was not a teacher at the time, said she knew she wanted to share the story once she got there. ‘she would have become an educator.
So for the past three years, ESL students who learned the role of Gander during 9/11 wrote thank-you notes and mailed them to Newfoundland. The mayor of Gander responded by thanking the students for looking past the tragedy to see some of the good that also happened that day. Ms Hughes said the mayor even visited Katy to visit her students. She says it helped him.
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