MILBURN, OK - The Milburn High School Class of 2011 wanted to leave a legacy that would impact more than just their school. And after months of hard work, their community is now home to a piece of American history.
"12 people in a class. A lot of people would think no they're not going to be able to do that. But we stuck to it and we pulled it off," said 2011 class president Marcus West.
The Milburn High School Class of 2011 was awarded an artifact from the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. A project that began with a reading assignment on the World Trade Center Steel Artifact Project in Nellie Garone's class.
Garone said, "I happened to look at Michael Whalen and I knew exactly what he was thinking. It was like, okay we'll apply."
"I was just like, we could do this. We could do this for our senior legacy and it would be huge. It would have a huge impact on the state of Oklahoma and our town. And I was just like, this is perfect," said 2011 senior Michael Whalen.
The seniors applied online and were denied because they were one year too late. West said, "it was a pretty big disappointment because we were putting a lot of time and a lot of effort into trying to get this piece."
But that didn't stop them. Students wrote letters to local and state representatives, went before the town council, then Ms. Garone made one last-ditch phone call. And it worked.
"It was just like a huge awe-struck moment. We were like yes, yes," said Whalen.
One thousand pieces of the World Trade Center were released all throughout the country, but only two made their home in the state of Oklahoma. Garone said that's what makes what the class of 12 from right here at Milburn High School did so much more amazing.
"Who would have ever thought we would have succeeded, number one. And number two just as a country it is a event that we always have to remember," Garone said.
A memorial service will be held on September 11th in Johnston County where the I beam will be on display.
Marcus West will give a speech he hopes reminds people of the importance of that day almost 10 years ago. "I want them to really appreciate the people who lost their lives in the World Trade Center attacks and always remember them."
"I'm sure we'll look back and we'll show our kids and our kids kids, we helped do this," said Whalen.
Garone said, "this is huge. For their whole entire life, they'll know that no doesn't really mean no and that anything is possible."
The Chickasaw Nation is donating a granite museum display case for the Johnston County Courthouse. That's where the I beam will be on display for years to come.