Springville-Griffith Institute Observing 10th Anniversary of 9/11 on Sept. 9

September 27, 2013 Updated Sep 1, 2011 at 11:35 AM EDT

By WKBW News


The steel beam from the World Trade Center divided into two lengths for assembly in the finished sculpture.

September 27, 2013 Updated Sep 1, 2011 at 11:35 AM EDT

Springville, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- A student-designed sculpture commemorating the people and events of 9/11 will be unveiled on Friday, Sept. 9 at 10 a.m. in the courtyard of the Springville-Griffith Institute CSD High School, 290 North Buffalo Street.

The ceremony will be held in the auditorium in the event of inclement weather.

A montage of 9/11 photos and articles that was assembled by the social studies classes of Mike Rokitka in 2001 will be displayed at the high school, along with all of the students’ memorial designs. Social Studies Teacher Rob Valenti, who initiated the project, will display a commemorative flag that lists the names of all of those who perished on September 11, 2001.

Dakoda Ball’s amazing design came to life with the skills of Technology Teacher Tim Baumgartner, Larry Strauss, Maintenance Mechanic Crew Chief and his staff, Maintenance Mechanic George Rugg, Buildings & Grounds Staff Rick Simmons and Scott Christ, and Charles Houseman and Angela Ginnitti, art teachers.

Balls design was selected from 67 entries in a 2010 contest open to students in the school district. He incorporated all of the places touched by the tragic events of that day: the World Trade Center’s twin towers, the Pentagon, and the Shanksville, Pa. field. A large circle represents the unity and patriotism that resulted from the attack. A steel beam salvaged from the wreckage of the towers is part of the memorial. S-GI was awarded the steel from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey upon the application of Valenti ,and his brother, Patrick Valenti trucked the piece from JFK Airport to Springville in June.

Over the summer, Baumgartner was joined by Houseman to continue the construction while students are on summer break. Baumgartner fabricated the circular piece, cut the salvaged beam in half and assembled the components. Houseman created scale models and schematic drawings. Maintenance Mechanic George Rugg built wooden forms based on those drawings for the poured concrete that provides the base for the sculpture, after researching the exact angles of the Pentagon.

Many area people contributed to the creation of the sculpture. Excavation was provided by Ike’s Land Developing, LLC of Springville with capital project contractors King Bros. Masonry of Java donating concrete for the poured base, and Industrial Power and Lighting of Buffalo providing the lighting. Gary Ehenes of Alp Steel of Buffalo helped procure stainless steel for the sculpture.

The ceremony will include a color guard, the National Anthem sung by S-GI’s Bella a Capella chorus, and remarks by Board of Education President Mel Williams, Superintendent Dr. Paul Connelly, High School Principal Vincent Vanderlip, Valenti, and guest speakers.

Community residents are most welcome to join S-GI in recognizing our area first responders along with a remembrance of the events of September 11, 2001. Before the second home football game of the S-GI Varsity Griffins at 7 p.m. the evening of Sept. 9, there will be a brief program and the sculpture will be lighted for viewing. The game will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Pop Warner Field. Please visit the district web site, www.springvillegi.org for last-minute details.