Newsome High School senior Madison Reed organized a display of flags to honor the lives lost on 9/11 last month.

A group of local businesses helped a high school student’s dream become a reality last month. Senior Madison Reed was able to coordinate a display of 2,977 flags in the Newsome High School car loop on September 11 to honor the lives lost on 9/11 thanks to donations from 24 businesses.

“I wanted to do this project because 2020 will be the first graduating class of students who were not alive during the attack and I realized that my peers and I do not have the same connection to 9/11 as adults do since we have no memory of it,” said Reed. “We learn about it in school and watch documentaries every year, but it just doesn’t seem real to us since we didn’t experience it.”

Reed titled her project, which was entirely student-led, “Those who don’t remember will still never forget.”

In addition to the businesses that contributed financially, Reed put together a group of student volunteers, Samantha Chavez, DeAnnah Johnson, Chloe Dymond, Dylon Wadlington, Anthony St. Alexander, Aidan Duclos, Chirana Warren, Katie Warren, Mariana Ramirez and Cameron Troyer, who helped with organizing and placing the flags in the lawn on 9/11.

“My goal for this project was to put into perspective how many people lost their lives that day and give the students at Newsome, and the community, a way to honor them,” she said.

Reed, a Valrico resident, plans to donate the flags to Newsome in the hopes that the display will become an annual tradition taken over by another student when she leaves for college. She would also like to start the project at the college she attends next year.

The businesses that sponsored the project include: Ultra Tranz Logistics, Art Monkey, Expressly Written, Pinch A Penny Fishhawk, Cruise Planners – Allison McRae, Park Square Social, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s FishHawk, Cay Fusion, The Rice Financial Group, The Scrambled Egg, FishHawk Pizza, Vortex Security, AcuSystem, JB Accounting Solutions, Master Garage Door Co., Wayback Burgers, HiTech Automotive, A&S Custom Construction, Inc., Tutoring Club of Valrico, Camp Gladiator – Yvonne Ayala-Lugo, Earthwise Pet, 3 C’s Catering, LLC, The Landing Bar and Grill and Cultural Care Au Pair – Francine DiGiorgio.

Newsome High School is located at 16550 FishHawk Blvd. and can be reached at 740-4600.

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Kate Quesada is the Multimedia Manager for the Osprey Observer Newspapers. She has been working for the paper in various positions since 2005 when she graduated with her Masters degree in mass communications. She lives in Valrico with her husband Mike and son Dylan.