New Canaan High School 9/11 Memorial Design Unveiled

Two towers, one representing strength, the other representing light, make up the winning design.

At the beginning of the last school year, Social Studies Department Chair challenged his students in AP American History with a project designed to get them thinking about the upcoming .

Students, who for the most part were in second grade when this nation was attacked in 2001, were assigned the task of researching and for placement in New Canaan.

As announced on Tuesday Sept. 7, , Tess Litchman, , and , all members of the Class of 2012, were the creators of the winning memorial design, which was chosen by members of the NCHS Social Studies Department faculty.

Their assignment was threefold: they were to research memorials done to commemorate previous American wars; design a memorial, including selecting a site which, according to their assignment, "should be carefully chosen and reflect the purpose and narrative of your proposal and reflect the values — as you perceive them — of the town which will host it" and prepare a "white paper" explaining their project.

The intent behind their design was to keep it, "simple and understated," said O'Rourke, with a focus on the names of Fairfield County residents who were lost.

Their design encompases two towers, one black marble, with the names inscribed, and the other glass.

The glass tower leans on the marble one. The "translucence symbolized light," and the tower is supported by the other in a symbol of brotherhood and community, while also recalling what happened that day Litchman said.

They selected the Talmadge Hill train station as the site for the design's installation. Their intent was to, "keep commuters in mind," Kilbride said. 

Saiz said the design was chosen deliberately to reach the people who were most affected by the attack on the twin towers.

"Commuters are the key people who go into New York City, who saw those buildings every day," she said.

As they explained in their white paper, "because of the proximity to New York City, and the close ties economically between this suburb and its urban center, New York, the most logical place for the memorial is a train station where those most deeply impacted may quietly pay their respects."

As for the future of their planned memorial, Webb says the town, including , has been extremely supportive.

While recognizing that there are many things that must fall into place for this project to come to fruition: public, government and financial support, Webb stresses that the most difficult work has been done.

He applauded the thought and effort his students put into their plans.

The foursome said that they credit teamwork for their success. Saiz said that the design concept was a group effort, but all agreed that they also each had specific strengths and skills that they brought to the project.

"It's our goal to see the memorial built," Webb said, "In due time. Memorials take a long time to build, but we pledge to try to make it happen."

To see a 3D model of the design, click here.


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