Students thank 9/11 responders with quilt

Fifth- and sixth-grade students from Caroline G. Atkinson Fifth- and sixth-grade students from Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School in Freeport, hold up the 9/11 10th anniversary memorial quilt that they made on paper that was mounted on oak tag, laminated and laced together with ribbon, at the ceremony where they donated it to the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center in East Garden City. Nearly 1,000 students in the school contributed to the quilt. (March 13, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Sixth-grader Zoie Gold is too young to remember Sept. 11, 2001, but Tuesday she thanked firefighters for their efforts and dedication in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

Gold, 11, was among 972 fifth- and sixth-grade students from the Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School in Freeport who crafted and donated a laminated paper "quilt" to the Nassau County Firefighters Museum & Education Center in Garden City. About 55 students attended the ceremony.

"My square was thanking the firefighters who helped out and the people who risked their lives for us," Gold said after the presentation.

The quilt consists of 115 laminated panels, each with eight squares of student drawings and writings, sewn together with red ribbon.

"Each child had to write what 9/11 meant to him or her," Principal Linda Carter said.

Some of the messages written in the squares are in English and some in Spanish, reflecting the language that is most comfortable for the student, said Nina Sasso, the school social worker who coordinated the event.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The messages also included drawings of hearts, flags and rainbows.

"We wanted to do something for the students to remember how important 9/11 is," Sasso said. "We wanted them to understand how tragic it was and something that we all need to remember."

After displaying the quilt in the school's main hallway late last year, Sasso visited the museum with her son in January and decided it was where the quilt belonged.

"We are very excited and pleased to have the quilt from the kids, it's something that came from their heart" museum executive director Alana Petrocelli said. "It will be a great addition to our Sept. 11 display."

The museum opened the display room in September, the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

"This room is a very personal room and having it [the quilt] adds to that personal feeling as well because it's from Long Island and this is honoring the men of Nassau County," said John Murray, chief instructor in charge of education at the museum.