Mark Honaker has done a lot for charity over the years to fundraise and bring awareness to events like Relay for Life.
But the 9/11 memorial event in his ceramics classroom on Thursday was not just the most comprehensive, it was also the most emotional.
More than 100 Desert Vista students volunteered to help design the classroom and act in what can only be described as a 9/11 tribute "experience."
On one wall flashed pictures in a slideshow while, nearby, Honaker crafted ceramic bowls for hours. On the other side of the classroom, students in costumes and makeup walked around in circles. One group of 9/11 victims, students covered in dust and dirt, acted like they were walking down one of the twin towers and the other group were firemen, walking the opposite way. Both groups muttered lines to the effect of: "We're almost there."
As other students entered through a hallway, single sheets of paper rained down on them. Each had a name on it. The name represented one of the roughly 3,000 people who died in New York City 10 years ago. Students were asked to pick up one sheet and take it to the bowls Honaker had made and inscribe the name inside of it.
The bowls will be shipped to a World Trade Center health organization in New York City where they will be displayed. Honaker said he would be making about 10 large bowls with about 300 names on each on them.
The bowls were just one of the ways Thursday's event was bigger than previous years.
"We used to just do a slideshow but this year my son, who is in theater, kind of inspired me to make it into something bigger," Honaker said. "We've got every element of the school here - theater, ceramic students, music students, and they have all been working hard."
Tia Hunt was one of those students who worked for two days after school to set up the room.
"It was an important thing for me to do because my brother is in the military, and we are really close," Hunt, 17, said. "I think this is important because it gets us thinking about it and helps to remember what happened."
Honaker's motivation stemmed from his brother as well.
"My brother was a Tempe firefighter and my motivation is to the firefighters," he said. "To me, this is about who rose up and responded (on Sept. 11, 2001)."
• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or email@example.com