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High school student and Atlanta organization team up to commemorate one year anniversary of Paris attacks

Ellie Coe was just a baby when the Sept. 11 attacks changed America forever.

The now 16-year-old Pope High School student’s first memory of being deeply affected by a terrorist attack occurred nearly one year ago.

After ISIS terrorists led attacks across the city of Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, murdering 130 people, Coe, who describes herself as a Francophile, felt compelled to channel her sadness into pitching in to help survivors.

“I was just a baby when 9/11 happened. I was too young to really understand the repercussions and all of the people who died,” Coe said. “[The Paris attacks] really shook me.”

Coe said she felt connected to the people who were victims of the attack because they were young people who were enjoying their Friday night, just a she’s done countless times before.

When she returned to school in August, she created the World Solidarity Club to support refugees and victims of terrorism.

The club is small. About five students participate in regular meeting. But, with the help of nonprofit organization Alliance Française d'Atlanta, they’ve put together a concert to commemorate the anniversary of the attacks and raise money for survivors.

“I contacted the organization Life for Paris, which is a French organization made up of survivors of the Paris Attacks who got together to share common history and to walk each other through the bad events,” Coe said. “We’re going to get the money from the concert to them through a check or online donation.”

Three bands, composed of students from Pope High School, will perform at the event.

“The concert is all about the resilience of youth and how music is a lot stronger than terror or hate,” Coe said.

Suggested donations of $10 are encouraged.

Life for Paris is also the beneficiary of proceeds from another concert in honor of the anniversary of the attacks. On Nov. 12, The Bataclan music venue in Paris will reopen for a Sting concert. It will be the first time the venue has been open since 89 concertgoers were killed in a terror attack at the venue nearly one year ago.

Catherine Thille, marketing and communication manager at Alliance Française d'Atlanta, said the organization agreed to host the World Solidarity Club's concert after Coe came up with the idea and contacted Life for Paris.

Thille said Coe, who participates in her French class, is one of several teenage students she knows who has shown a deep love for French culture.

“I think we’re very fortunate to have a student body who is truly interested in French culture and wants to go above and beyond just learning the language in class,” she said.

Next up for Coe and her organization is a poetry night and a campaign to create and submit cards for Syrian children in refugee camps.

She also hopes to make it to Paris one day, to experience the culture she loves up close.

“I dream of going,” she said. “I want to live in France when I grow up.”

5 p.m. Nov. 13. $10 (suggested donation.) Alliance Française d'Atlanta at Colony Square, 1197 Peachtree St., Atlanta.

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About the Author

Jewel Wicker is an Atlanta native, Georgia State University graduate and entertainment reporter. She typically covers local events.