The Nino’s Restaurant 9/11
HOW IT WORKS
Students in this program were directly affected
by the September 11 terrorist attacks. The students saw the Twin Towers collapse from the
windows in their classrooms. Therefore, there is a tremendous
relevance for them in The Nino’s Restaurant 9/11 Fund.
Nino’s Restaurant is close to the World Trade Center site and when tragedy
struck, the restaurant dedicated itself to providing free meals to the
many workers who gave of themselves so selflessly. The students
found information about the restaurant by visiting it and doing
research. They shared data, facts, and ideas, and created a body of
work to present to their fellow students and the Parents’ Association.
One particular activity involved a news article about the founder of the
restaurant, Nino Vendrome. The teacher read the first paragraph
aloud and wrote down (on a T-chart) questions and new information
gathered while reading. The students continued the activity with the
remainder of the article. The group generated lists of questions they
still had and lists of information they learned.
Thirty-three eighth graders participated in this program. They met
outside of school to visit the restaurant, met five times weekly for two
weeks, and went to the computer lab twice to work on the project. The
social outreach theme of this program combined with the required
tasks make this appropriate for middle school and high school
students. In addition, students are able to work on areas of their
choice: researching and collecting information, writing informational
text, creating an artistic response, making an oral presentation, and
using technology to support and extend their research.
Marianne Gavin is an English teacher at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Middle
School. The computer teacher, John Natuzzi, was an invaluable
resource in teaching students how to use the PowerPoint presentation.
WHAT YOU NEED
This program required three to four field trips to Nino’s Restaurant.
Students used video and digital cameras to record the artwork,
people, and the restaurant itself. Periodicals (such as The Daily
News) containing articles about Nino’s were excellent sources of
information for the students. Some students chose to copy the
angel statue outside the restaurant, using oak tag and markers. The art
supplies needed depend upon the students’ preferences of mediums.
Students also need access to computers and the program for a
The Nino’s Restaurant 9/11 Fund was a very important and meaningful program for all participating
students and those who learned of it. It has changed students’ perspectives about
their neighborhood and neighbors. The children were fascinated with the
sense of volunteerism and humanity surrounding Nino’s Restaurant.
This helped promote empathy and social awareness. When students
learn about and teach others something so evidently valuable, it
boosts the self-esteem of all involved. Beyond the practical
and essential opportunities of presenting nonfiction information to a real
audience, students acquire a sense of accomplishment with this
socially conscious project.