Sweaty bodies and satisfied smiles were found at Taravella High’s 5th Annual 9/11 110-story Stair Climb to benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) early Saturday morning. Over 140 participants and donors combined to raise over $12,000, a new record at the DECA Club sponsored event. Firefighters, students, teachers, residents, business sponsors, and a group of Coral Springs firefighter trainees heard presentations from student DECA members and NYPD First Responder John Napolitano, Sr. in the auditorium before starting the climb. Napolitano recounted the day of the September 11th World Trade Center attack and the loss of his FDNY son John Napolitano, Jr. in the collapse of the Twin Towers. Many attendees in the audience of over 100 were brought to tears.
Participants completed 27 circuits up, across, down, and around the three story Grand Building to simulate the 110 stories of the World Trade Center towers. Firefighters in full gear were challenged by the effort, but pleased to be a part of the effort to remember the 343 FDNY firefighters that lost their lives saving others on September 11, 2001. Students also appreciated the sacrifice made by all who died on that day, when only seniors at the high school were alive at the time.
DECA is a national organization of over 200,000 marketing and finance students. NFFF had over 60 stair climbs run across the U.S. in 2018, with the Taravella climb the only one conducted by high school students. DECA Advisor and marketing teacher Jamie Simmons has been an advisor for over 30 years. Student presenters were Emily Morell, Tracy Borelus, Bridget Spears, and Chante Samuels. Donations toward their effort can be made online. An event t-shirt will be sent to registered Virtual Climbers.