Patriot Day celebration at Hook

Hook honors heroes
Posted on 09/12/2019

VICTORVILLE — Hook Junior High School honored those who serve while teaching students the significance of the 9/11 terror attacks in a pair of assemblies at the campus this week.

None of Hook’s students were alive when hijackers crashed planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. Wednesday’s seventh- and eighth-grade assemblies taught them about the sacrifices of first-responders and the national wave of patriotism and unity that followed.

“I can still vividly remember this day and all the moments of it,” Hook teacher Marta Kapelos said during the ceremony. “A day in most of our lives where the world and our country stood still. It was a time of unity and camaraderie, where race, religion and color didn’t matter. All that mattered was that we were Americans!”  

The event, organized by Kapelos and fellow Hook teacher Dianna Marler, featured performances and speeches by Hook staff and students along with special guests including Air Force Master Sgt. Andrew Jones and Los Angeles City Fire Department Firefighter/Paramedic Joe Pambianco.  

Pambianco spoke about the bravery of New York City firefighters who raced up the stairs of the burning buildings in their gear. To give the students an idea of what the firefighters experienced, Pambianco had student volunteers (including 8th-grader Abriana Schmitt, pictured) dress up in full fire gear so they could feel the weight that those firefighters carried up the stairs of the World Trade Center.

Other presentations included songs, poems and speeches. Kapelos also called out the names of several former and current service members in attendance, including many Hook employees and their family members.

“As we honor all those patriots who have given what Abraham Lincoln called the ‘last full measure of devotion’ with their lives, let us honor those who go above and beyond every day defending freedom, protecting our cities and towns, and risking their own lives,” teacher James Shanklin told the crowd. “Thank you for answering the call of duty.”

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