Learning about patriotic holidays through teacher's personal stories
Staff and students in all corners of Lincoln Public Schools use Patriot Day and Veterans Day as opportunities to pause and learn more about those who have served and continue to serve our country.
No one appreciates this opportunity more than Ryan Treat, who teaches math, social studies and science at Schoo Middle School. Before he began his teaching career, Treat was a police officer for the Blair and Lincoln police departments.
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, he was a member of the Blair Police Department. He had just worked nearly 48 hours straight as part of a multi-county drug task force. When he finally got home, he crashed on his couch for some much-needed sleep. Soon his wife called from work and told him to turn on the TV. He watched the stunning events unfold in New York City until he eventually fell asleep again.
“As I woke up again later that morning, I was almost in tears at the nightmare I had just had. Then I turned the TV back on to realize it was real,” Treat said, later adding, “Police work changed that day, and my phone rang soon after, and it was back to work because of all the threats and elevated security needs. Needless to say, the world was different for everyone from that day on, but especially first responders.”
He shares his 9/11 story with his social studies class every year. “For a lot of students, this is just some event that happened and they don’t really understand it. I let them into my life and tell them what it was like. It’s a great opportunity to connect.”
Treat also shares a special story with students on Veterans Day in November - the story of his dad. The Vietnam veteran visits his son’s class and talks with students about his experience in the military. He brings a shadow box filled with medals and photos from his time in Vietnam. He answers student questions.
Treat also has his students write thank-you letters to veterans they know or to the Veterans Administration.
“Somebody inevitably writes one to my dad, too.”
Published: September 13, 2019, Updated: September 18, 2019