CLEWISTON — Each year, in honor of the many lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, Clewiston High School (CHS) criminal justice class students and members of the school’s Florida Public Service Academy (FPSA) conduct a reverent 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony.
This year, due to the threat of COVID-19, the students focused on keeping the public safe and healthy by creating a memorial video, documenting the annual ceremony. The video was released the morning of Friday, Sept. 11. The FPSA and Criminal Justice Program leader and director of the video, Kristine Petersen, was attending the 9/11 ceremony in New York City that morning.
Opening prayer was led by Clewiston Fire Department Chaplain Jimmy Pittman as Clewiston High School FPSA Capt. Kylie Davis, along with her classmate, Madeline Spooner, stood at a podium surrounded by red, white and blue. They reminded viewers about the brave first responders, the many lives lost, and how the world changed that day. They spoke poignantly about how the nation came together in love and unity, even in the face of terror and hate. Photos flashed across the screen of the many heroes working, searching through the wreckage, as the ceremony went on. A powerful ending included Monserrat Paniagua, a criminal justice student at CHS, symbolically ringing a brass bell as the ceremony closed.
“As it gets further and further away, as time passes by, it becomes easier to forget what happened that day. Things fade, and things might not seem as important. We wanted to make sure that those who gave so much, who made such big sacrifices, are never forgotten,” said Davis, about why she felt it was important to create the video.
FPSA is an organization designed to prepare students for careers in criminal justice. The four-year Career and Technical Education (CTE) course in criminal justice allows students to graduate with both their Class D security license and E 911 Dispatch Certification.
Davis, proud to have earned the title of CHS FPSA captain this year, said: “We are committed to helping our community. We hope to give back as much as possible, even with some big obstacles in the way. The virus has complicated things, but we welcome the opportunity to work through and overcome challenges.”
The video can be viewed online at: drive.google.com/file/d/1l6kd-ihJI2b3Bwcfsn3B-WyfzKWBtlJ6/view?usp=drivesdk