Papillion La Vista Community Schools students pushing themselves to the limit to honor 9/11 victims

Posted at 10:27 AM, Sep 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-09 11:27:52-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Students at Papillion La Vista Community Schools (PLCS) are racking up pull-ups.

“We decided to challenge each student to do as many pull-ups as they can, and hopefully combined the schools will get 3,000,” Papillion La Vista South Naval Science Instructor Travis Green said.

Not as a health initiative, but to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11.

The idea came about when Green challenged his cadets from the Naval Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (NJROTC) program, which has kids from both high schools in the PLCS district, to come up with a way to pay tribute to those that lost their lives 20 years ago.

“One that really stuck with me was from Cadet (Reagan) Kaffenberger. She had mentioned that we should do a 9/11 pull-up challenge, a pull-up for each of the individuals who lost their lives during 9/11,” Green said.

The challenge runs through Thursday, as they race to 2,977 pull-ups.

Something that is physically taxing, and for a reason.

“You got to think about how much the people in 9/11 had to go through,” NJROTC Student Emma Baughman said. “Even though we’re just doing a little bit, it still does show that we are trying to do something to think about them.”

“To keep going back up and down those stairs, risking their lives and the physical strain that it had to be on their bodies — so I think by us exerting this pull up challenge, exerting as much as we can, kind of pays tribute to them,” Green said. “It’s not as significant obviously, but it’s our way of saying hey we recognize your sacrifice and the hard work that you guys did to save those that you could.”

None of the high school students were alive during that attack but they recognize what the first responders sacrificed that day, and the impact it has had on our country.

“I didn’t experience it, being quite young, but I know my father decided to become a firefighter post 9/11 because of it, and I’m on track too,” Baughman said.

“I think it’s important to continue to honor those people in any way that we can and let that memory not fade away,” Green said. “Because those are the true heroes that made the ultimate sacrifice for us to be here today.”

The NJROTC cadets will announce the totals to the schools on Friday, and share a few interviews with staff members that will share their memories from the tragic day 20 years ago.

Find all our 9/11 - 20 Years Later stories here.

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