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9/11 Tribute Center Honors Westport School Project

WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport’s Bedford Middle School was one of 10 schools across the country honored by the Tribute WTC Visitor Center in New York for an eighth-grade project that explored the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the school district announced Thursday.

Created by Bedford teachers Courtney Ruggiero, Laurie Gray and Alison Laturnau, the Spirit of Service project examined how communities experience and recover from loss. The project focused on how people risked their lives to help others after both Sept. 11 and the Hiroshima bombing.

The students also watched “Darius Goes West,” a documentary about Darius Weemus, a 15-year-old with Duchenne muscular dystrophy who had never left his hometown. In the film, Darius’ best friends help him travel cross-country and raise awareness for his condition.

Two members of the Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service also visited the eighth-grade students. This inspired the students to launch a schoolwide service project called BMS for EMS , in which the school raised and donated $600 to the service.

Ruggiero, an eighth-grade social studies teacher, submitted the project to the Tribute WTC Visitor Center for consideration in its fifth annual September 11th Teacher Awards. The school was awarded a certificate of merit and $500, which was later donated to Westport EMS.

Gray, an eighth-grade math teacher, and Laturnau, an eighth-grade language arts teacher, accompanied Ruggiero to the Feb. 28 awards ceremony in New York.

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