Former student climbing the stairs in his firefighter gear.

Many Americans vividly remember where they were when the first tower was struck by a plane onSeptember 11, 2001. It was a day that continues to have a profound impact on our nation. 

Students in high school now were not yet born when the tragic events unfolded 21 years ago. Teaching them the history of that day is important for School Resource Officer Matthew Owenby. For two years now, Charles D. Owen High School has honored those lives lost with a stair climb. It’s just a small tribute to never forget what happened. 

“Our students now were born after 9/11 so they don’t have any memory of what happened,” said Deputy Owenby. “It’s a great way to remind everyone of why I do my job, why the military and firefighters do their jobs as well. Those that participate get a sense of purpose, and a small piece of the history of the events.”

First responders climbed 110 flights of stairs on 9/11. On September 16, 2022, students, faculty, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department, Firefighters, and community members braved the chilly weather in order to climb the same number of stairs at Owen’s football stadium. 

“First week of school I had students asking me if we would be doing the event again this year,” said Deputy Owenby. “One student graduated last year, and came back to do the climb. He works now as a firefighter for Swannanoa. It’s a challenge for all participants, and I think they all enjoy that. I would love to see this event grow each year, and hopefully make it something that everyone will want to be a part of.”

Owen High School’s home football game on Friday, September 16 is First Responders Night. During the game donations will be collected for the local veterans homes. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

Student participating in the stair climb.

Staff participating in the stair climb.