White Knoll High School Visits NYC


White Knoll High School of Lexington, South Carolina visits New York City 

A dream was born on September 12, 2001 and the students of White Knoll Middle School in Lexington, SC couldn’t wait to get started. Principal Dr. Nancy Turner shared her idea of buying a fire truck to replace one of the trucks lost in the tragedy of the World Trade Center Towers the day before. The estimated cost was $350,000. 

It really started in 1867. During the Civil War, a group of NYC firefighters gave Columbia a fire wagon after a fire nearly leveled the city at the end of the Civil War. Columbia leaders promised to remember the New York firefighters if they ever needed help. That promise was kept by the students of White Knoll Middle School.

The students were not daunted by the enormity of this undertaking. They had numerous ways of raising the funds. They sold 20,000 buttons and over 300 t-shirts. Flags and decals were sold. They had weekly bake sales, a silent auction, a sponsored gospel sing in the cafeteria. Students even requested donations at the football games and worked a booth at the state fair to raise money. What started out as a school project soon became a state project. Donations came from all over the state and from other states as well. 

Two months later, on Thanksgiving Day, Dr. Turner accompanied by several students appeared on the “Today” Show where they presented a check for $353,114 to firefighters from Ladder Company 101. A special plaque has been put on the truck in honor of White Knoll Middle School as well as the seven men that were lost. Students actually raised $520,000. The extra was used to replace other fire fighting equipment lost to the firehouse. 

On December 5, 2001 four NYC firefighters came to visit White Knoll students. They had an assembly complete with the band and music. There will always be a bond between White Knoll students and the NYC firefighters. 

In March 2008, the White Knoll High School Band visited NYC and Ladder Company 101 to see the fire truck that they helped raise money for when they were in middle school. The band on spent time at Brooklyn Ladder Company 101 and then went on to visit Ground Zero where they performed some musical selections. 

While visiting New York City, the band also did some sightseeing, as well as performed at Carnegie Hall.

Also, as part of the trip, the band performed at Ground Zero. Here members of the WKHS JROTC raised the American flag that was presented to the parents of Joshua L, Torrence. Joshua was a graduate of White Knoll High and was killed in Fallujah while serving in the US Marine Corp. The school’s field house was named in honor of this Marine, and several NYC firefighters were present for the weekend-long celebration on November 2 -3, 2007.

Written by Betty Barna
(Band Historian, White Knoll High School, Lexington, SC)

Nathaniel & I feel honored to have recently visited the 4 beautiful high schools in Lexington, SC - Gilbert, Lexington, Pelion & White Knoll. 

Connecting with, and getting to know caring and kind students and staff such as those in Lexington, makes our travel to schools throughout our great country meaningful and significant.