By: Carly Levy
A fundraiser is being held at JP Taravella High School in memory of those who died saving lives at the World Trade Center on 9/11.
The fourth annual 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb on October 21 will raise money for The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, where the past two years J.P Taravella High School has raised over $2,500.
Because the North and South Towers at the World Trade Center building were 110 stories tall, firefighters, teachers, administrators, students and Coral Springs residents will have the opportunity to climb the same amount of steps in honor of the victims of the worst terrorist attack in world history, and the deadliest foreign attack on American soil.
This year, James L. Simmons, a teacher at JP Taravella High School and coordinator of the event, has merged school clubs DECA and SHAPE to help raise $2,497 with a goal of $4,000 by the end of the year.
Simmons was inspired back in 2014 along with his DECA club after his nephew, a firefighter in Alabama, told him about leading his own 9/11 Stair Climb in his area.
“They’re willing to risk their lives to save others and I wanted to do something to pay that back,” said Simmons.
He also said it was important to raise awareness about the 9/11 terrorist attacks to his students since many weren’t even born when the attacks took place.
“I think it’s a great way to keep it fresh in the minds of young people who weren’t around or weren’t really aware of what was going on at the time like myself,” said Melissa Livermore, senior at JP Taravella High School and DECA member. “I was only a year old when the terrorists attacks occurred.”
Students also had the opportunity to listen to stories from the parents of those who lost loved ones during 9/11.
“I’ve met a father of a victim who passed away on 9/11 and honestly it’s very emotional talking to them about it because it’s such a heartbreaking story,” said Livermore.
After registration, participants will meet in the auditorium to see student presentations of the fallen firefighters. John Napolitano Sr., whose son was one of the 343 New York firefighters who died on 9/11, will be speaking, as well as Joanne Elliot who lost her son in a Pompano fire department training accident.
When the presentations are over, climbers will head to a three-story building behind the auditorium and make 27 laps up, across, and down the stairs to create the effect of walking the up the 110 stories of the World Trade Center. Each climber will have a name tag and a picture of one of the 343 firefighters. When their climb is complete, all participants will state their firefighter’s name, receive prizes such as a challenge coin or a t-shirt, and have their picture taken.
On-site registration starts at 7:30 a.m. for the event that day at JP Taravella High School on Saturday, October 21, from 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. The school is at 10600 Riverside Dr, Coral Springs, FL 33071.
If you’d like to donate, please go to The National Firefighters Foundations website.