How to share significance through artifacts and symbols – SCN Encourager

There’s a school PR lesson in “9/11 and the things left behind”

Eiffel TowerA unique angle.

You can always find one more if you take the time look.

I should try it more often.

Especially when it comes to casting new light on those standard, much-covered stories that take place in our schools every year.

You know the stories I mean: our back-to-school open houses, the bus safety article, the homecoming court announcement, the purchase of new technology and textbooks, and so on.

Stories like these seem tailor made for cutting, pasting, and repurposing.

Here’s an organization that didn’t go down this path with respect to 9/11 – and it received extra attention for both itself and the event it was covering as result.

The National Geographic did a masterful job commemorating the 14th anniversary of 2001.

Its tribute was concise, visual, and well… different from most.

A first responder's helmet

A first responder’s helmet

If you clicked through it previously, no doubt your sense of humanity and your own imagination caused you to wonder about the many abruptly “unfinished stories” symbolized by every item selected by The National Geographic.

9/11 and the things left behind is special.

In viewing each slide (showing what’s now a simple historic relic), you’re accorded the honor of sharing a brief private moment with its previous owner.

I found it to be an unusual experience.

But it heightened the memory of all that transpired on September 11, 2001.

The National Geographic’s minimalist slideshow also illustrated an effective  storytelling technique I think we could use well in promoting our schools.

Imagine a slideshow with short engaging captions spotlighting –
•  the tools 1st graders use everyday,
•  a tour of your middle school art room,
•  or the variety of cultures represented in your high school.

At any rate, you’ll be able to come up with an idea better than mine.

I’ll probably ask my elementary school secretaries for help on a slideshow featuring some of the more unusual items in their “lost and found” bins.

There’s always a virtual treasure trove of objects in them thar hills!

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