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Whitley Intermediate’s sixth grade visits UC for Patriot Day


Williamsburg, KY., - After an in-depth study and history lesson about the events and aftermath of that tragic day on September 11, 2001, Whitley County Intermediate School (WCIS) brought some of their sixth grade classes to University of the Cumberlands (UC) to speak with Dr. Leskiw, assistant professor in the History & Political Science Department, and to attend the Patriot Day Ceremony in Patriot Park on 9/11.

Student teachers and UC alumni, Bethany Bargo and Joy Coleman joined forces with their lead teachers, Ms. Angela McCullah and Mr. John Crisologo, and arranged for their two sixth grade classes, a total of 44 students, to come to UC to meet with history professor Dr. Leskiw to discuss patriotism. The topic of their social studies classes had been the terroristic attacks on America on 9/11. The student teachers had been sharing their personal stories of that tragic day, studying the events and facts, and even read a book titled, I Survived 9/11.


“Terrorists crashed planes into the twin towers and two other places on 9/11,” said sixth grade student, Blake McCullah. “I have learned a lot about it so far but I want to know more. It is so sad that so many people had to die like that.”

Ms. Bargo, a Knox County native, said that it concerned her that many of her students had said that they had no desire or plans to attend college after graduating high school. The entire point of bringing the classes to UC was to teach them about patriotism but also to try to increase their interest in college as they were given the opportunity to explore the campus, have lunch in the café, listen to a college professor teach them about patriotism, and have a scavenger hunt throughout campus. The majority of the students appeared to be elated about their college experience and one student even chose to wear a tie. “I’m ready to go to college now,” said the eager student to his teacher.

“We both would like to attend the University of the Cumberlands for two years before transferring to UK for our majors,” said students Caeden Whittaker and Clay Shelton in unison as they shared a laugh over their similarities. “We need and want to learn our way around campus. It is pretty exciting for all of us today.”

Dr. Leskiw began with a team building and leadership project in which all students participated. He then led into a more serious tone and began discussing the events that occurred on 9/11 and asked the students what they knew about this historical day and answered their questions. He showed a Power Point to display photos of the day that will go down in infamy.

Sixth grader, Zachery Broyles, volunteered to get up in front of the crowd to perform a song he had prepared titled, “Where were you?” by Alan Jackson as his personal tribute to 9/11. His peers remained very attentive and seemed to enjoy his performance.

“September 11th is a day that brings our people together,” explained WCIS student, Zachery Broyles. “Just as Dr. Leskiw demonstrated in our team-building crushing experiment, we all need to work together and stick together to be stronger. It has been proven through 9/11 that when faced with struggles and tragedy, we as Americans are stronger. We have been shown now that we are not invincible as a nation and we can be easily crippled. We have done well to come together to fight for our country and our men and women who were taken from us that September day.”

The students were then directed to a scavenger hunt around campus and enjoyed lunch at the café. This was arranged for them by their student teachers in hopes of increasing their interest in college life by giving them a day of college experiences. They ended their day by attending UC’s Patriot Day ceremony at Patriot Park located in front of the Hutton Business School on UC’s campus.

Most of the students were in awe of the events that took place at the Patriot Day ceremony. Their experience this day at UC will help them always remember the lives taken on September 11, 2001.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; 10 pre-professional programs; ten graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information visit