WAXAHACHIE — In remembrance the tragedy on American soil that occurred 16 years ago, Waxahachie ISD is honoring those who put their lives on the line every day with its fifth annual First Responders Breakfast this Monday.

“Our sincere hope and desire is that we truly honor those that sacrifice so much for so many on a daily basis,” began Al Benskin, Principal of Waxahachie High School, of the event also held in memory of the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001.

“This event instills in our students the importance of service to others and their community. Our students play a major role in pulling this event together […], and it is a genuine ‘Thank you’ to all first responders,” he added.

Tasked with honoring those who served on 9-11, WNGA Student Council advisor and AP Human Geography teacher, Lisa Minton, founded the First Responders Breakfast in 2012.

"I presented the idea to our freshman student council, and they loved it,” recalled Minton. “We wanted to show honor, not only to the first responders who selflessly gave of themselves on 9-11, but we also wanted to honor those men and women that take up that same oath and lay their lives on the line every day for us.”

“Many of our children had or have parents that leave the house every day not knowing if they will come home that evening. The sacrifice is not only for those who serve but also for their families, so we wanted to let them know that we see them too and we care,” she expressed.

Recognizing firefighters, police officers, military personnel, and emergency medical technicians, the ceremony will include an array of talents from the WHS Choir and Band, Cherokee Charmers, cheerleaders, and Interact Club.

Also involved in the program will be students from the Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) club, Texas Association of Future Educators (TAFE), and WHS baseball and soccer seniors.

The observance will also incorporate community fellowship time and, of course – a hardy breakfast provided by the students.

“The students have been working hard on coordinating the food and drinks for the day, along with the flag ceremony and a time of reverence,” explained Anna Marie Warren, WISD English teacher, STUCO advisor and senior sponsor, about the event’s festivities.

“While we have an agenda scheduled, it will truly be a come and go event as we know that our First Responders have unpredictable schedules and may need to ‘run’ at any moment,” she acknowledged.

As WISD’s Student Council worked hard to plan, decorate and communicate with other students, Warren notes they also delivered invitation flyers to all of the local First Responder Agencies.

“One of the most important reasons for this event is to instill in our students the importance of being a giver to others and their community,” Warren pointed out. “On the other hand, I believe that it is also important to show the community that our students are involved and care about life outside of school."

“They get so excited about doing for others in a sacrificial way. It is very exciting to see this generation living in a way that so many of us could learn from," she expounded. "I have seen everyone generously contribute food items, time, and other resources without even thinking twice."

“The students have done everything from cook the bacon to make individual waffles because we want to sacrifice of ourselves in a small way like the first responders demonstrated the sacrifices of themselves every day,” Benskin jumped in.

Inviting the community to esteem the brave men and women who serve on the front lines of fortitude, Warren compliments her students’ heart that makes this year’s breakfast possible.

“I have never heard the students say nor that they didn't want to do something,” Warren recollected. “They always follow through with their own time and funds to make it happen. They are proud of their school and their community, and they are willing to do what it takes to make things like the First Responders Breakfast happen.”

“My hope is that the First Responders feel appreciated and honored from the moment that they arrive on our campus and that on though days they will remember how the youth of Waxahachie High School are looking up to them as an example of how to live and give. I am also hopeful that they feel us standing along side them supporting them in all that they do,” she concluded.

The Waxahachie High School fifth annual First Responders Breakfast is scheduled for Sept.11, at 7:30 a.m. The observance will be held at the WHS Library on 1000 North Highway 77. For more information, email Anna Marie Warren at awarren@wisd.org or call the Waxahachie High School at (972)-923-4600.


Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer