Patriot HS 6th Annual 9/11 ‘Heroes Breakfast’ Honors First Responders

| September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments | Community, Education

Chef Emily Stevenson (right) with her culinary students serving food at the breakfast.

Patriot High School Culinary Program held its 6th annual 9/11 Heroes Breakfast to honor first responders from the community.

Over the years the program has expanded. In addition to Patriot Culinary Students cooking for and serving breakfast to firefighters, police officers and EMTs, the marching band and choir perform. Community leaders and representatives are also invited.

Patriot High School culinary teacher Chef Emily Stevenson said the idea was born in 2011, the first year the school opened. Those students remembered 9/11 and were affected by it, some more directly than others. One student suggested honoring first responders on that day, and a few years later, it became a reality.

Stevenson said she is glad they could make something positive come out of such a tragic day for the nation.

“I honestly believe that anyone who died that day, anyone who sacrificed, would not want us to sit around and be sad for 24 hours. To remember, yes, but to remember in a fond way to celebrate the goodness in the hearts of people. They’d want us to come together like this to share our time together, share our stories together. That’s where all this came from,” she said.

Guests gather outside the school to listen to the Patriot High School Marching Band perform.

For Patriot students who were not yet born in 2001, they very much consider 9/11 an appropriate occasion to honor first responders.

“It was such a horrible day,” said Adam Demaree, Sr., culinary student, but he sees it as a day of service and sacrifice. “You have Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, and 9/11 is like a first responders day to remember police, firemen and EMTs.”

Some choir students said that they always remember having moments of silence in school, but it was not until they were older, around middle school, that they really better understand the significance of what had happened on Sept. 11, 2001.

“9/11 was obviously a devastating time. My mom said she watching it on TV and thought ‘this is so unreal.’ I’m glad we are all able to come together as a community,” said Theodore Simpson, Sr.

Faith Cassandra, Sr., felt she had mainly understood 9/11 as a historical event until she visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. It helped her understand the scope of the loss. “You see how many people were affected,” she said, noting the families behind every name.

First responders, administrators, culinary, band and choir students gather outside following performances.

Adam Demaree, Sr., is a culinary student who has participated every year and really likes the Heroes Breakfast and program. “It’s nice to give back to first responders for all that they do,” he said.

The adults were pleased that the next generation is honoring the day, those who sacrificed their lives and those who put their lives on the line on a regular basis.

“Their memory is honoring the people who were of service, and they know the history of that day. They don’t remember the tragedy the way we do. This is just part of their world,” said Patriot Choir teacher, Liz Selby.

Patriot High School Senior Zoree Jones eloquently spoke on behalf of the student body, thanking Prince William’s first responders. She noted it is often said, “first responders run in while others are running out.”

“Next to creating a life, the finest thing a man can do is saving a life,” said Jones, quoting Abraham Lincoln. “We live in the safety and comfort of your service…You are our strength when we are at our weakest…When disaster strikes, you are there. You are the first line of defense.”


SRO officers who attended the breakfast will always remember where they were on 9/11.

SROs Matthew Martz, Shawn Beck and Adam Higgs share their 9/11 memories.

Officer Matthew Martz was working security at the State Department. He was off that day, but was called in to assist in D.C. SRO Shawn Beck was teaching P.E. at River Roads Elementary School having to help manage students during the tragedy. While SRO Adam Higgs was a student himself at Stonewall Jackson High School in Manassas.

All of the officers thought the students and staff members did an excellent job with the program. “It was awesome. Very well organized,” said Martz. “It is nice that they honor the first responders.”

Stevenson said she really likes that they can invite in the officers, firefighters and EMT. “They are a part of the fabric of our community,” she said, adding that they at any point could save any of our lives.

She said that holding the breakfast is transformative for the students as well. First years often find it “eye-opening,” and then by the second year, “they get it.” They understand more about 9/11 and the sacrifices made.

She said the program is made possible because of the culture at Patriot.

Choir members Faith Cassandra, Zoe Gittings, Theodore Simpson, Emily Rosario, Naia Duncan and Owen Grebner share their feelings about 9/11.

“It’s the teamwork we have at Patriot. I am part of an amazing team at Patriot: administrators, teachers, and custodial staff. I’m blessed to be here every day in this building,” said Stevenson.

She also thanked her fabulous culinary students who were able to pull this together in a short period of time.

Last year they competed in a student culinary competition in Disney World in front of professional chefs, including celebrity chef Damaris Phillips. They also attended an awards gala, met with representatives from culinary schools, and enjoyed the theme park. This year Patriot students will once again compete. Many of the café sales they do for teachers and students after school help to fund that trip.

© 2019, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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Category: Community, Education

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