May 23, 2015 04:12 UTC

Education

Tragedy at One School, Renewal at Another

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

Mourners gather for the wake for Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Charlotte Helen Bacon, 6, in Newtown, Connecticut
Mourners gather for the wake for Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Charlotte Helen Bacon, 6, in Newtown, Connecticut

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report in Special English.
 
Funerals began this week for the school shooting victims in Newtown, Connecticut. Last Friday a 20-year-old local man killed 20 children, six educators and himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Officials say Adam Lanza used guns owned by his mother after shooting her to death at their home.
 
The shooting was the second deadliest ever at an American school. In 2007 a student at Virginia Tech killed 32 people and then himself.
 
What happened in Newtown has once again reopened debate about gun control and issues like mental health services. President Obama spoke Sunday at a memorial service in the town. He said he will use whatever power he has as president "in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this."
 
On Wednesday, he named Vice President Joe Biden to lead an administration team in developing proposals to reduce gun violence.
 
Students at Sandy Hook Elementary are expected to return to school in a neighboring town in January after winter break. Sandy Hook will remain closed until further notice.
 
In the gunfire last week, a community lost a school for the most tragic of reasons. Days earlier, another community not very far away regained a school in a story of hope, renewal and the strength of the human spirit.
 
Flooding from Hurricane Sandy nearly destroyed Saint Camillus School in the Rockaway area of Queens, in New York City. The Catholic school stands just a short distance from the Atlantic Ocean. The more than 200 students and teachers went to another school while Saint Camillus was closed for six weeks.
 
Janine Cerrone with her kindergarten class at Saint Camillus Catholic school in New York. (VOA/A. Phillips)Janine Cerrone with her kindergarten class at Saint Camillus Catholic school in New York. (VOA/A. Phillips)
x
Janine Cerrone with her kindergarten class at Saint Camillus Catholic school in New York. (VOA/A. Phillips)
Janine Cerrone with her kindergarten class at Saint Camillus Catholic school in New York. (VOA/A. Phillips)
Many people remain displaced in the area. But the reopening of the school on December 10 was a victory for the community.
 
"So good morning boys and girls. 
 
"Good morning, Sister Agnes!"
 
Sister Agnes White is principal of Saint Camillus. 
 
"We're all together. We're back home, and we are ready to start anew."
 
Earlier, Sister Agnes gave cut-out paper stars to students to tape anywhere they wanted on the school walls.       
 
"Between now and Christmas, this building should be filled with stars, a symbol of light. We all lost light. We know what it's like to be without light. But now we have light in this building and we need the light that you're going to put up with the stars, a symbol of the light of Jesus Christ."
 
Parts of the school remain damaged beyond repair. Some students lost their homes as a result of the storm.
 
School secretary Kerry Montero says the message from Hurricane Sandy is clearest in the many recent acts of kindness.
 
"It's touching, you know, the outpouring of help that we've received from everyone.  I mean, we've had people from Connecticut, California, Brooklyn, all over the place, coming and helping us."
This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • Video Learning at the Laundromat

    College students teach mathematics and English to poor, immigrant children at a coin laundry near Washington, DC. At the same time, the students are helping the owner of the business become more profitable. The tutoring is part of the business plan they have created. | As It Is More

  • Audio Islamic State Militants Capture Two Major Cities

    The Islamic State seized control of the Syrian city of Palmyra on Thursday. The fall of Palmyra reportedly left the militants in control of half of Syria. Last Sunday, the militants took control of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar Province.| In The News More

  • Fiery Cross Reef, Spratly Islands

    Audio China Warns US Spy Plane in South China Sea

    China's navy is reported to have issued eight warning messages to a U.S. military spy plane over several man-made islands. Boats with Rohingya migrants accepted in Indonesian waters. U.S. and Cuba continue talks toward diplomatic ties. More

  • Audio Google Self-Driving Car Heading to Public Streets

    This summer, the latest version of Google's self-driving car will make its first appearance on public roads. The two-seat vehicle does not need a gas pedal or steering wheel. The prototype can drive, brake and recognize road dangers without human involvement. More

  • Audio In the US Senate, Heated Debate Over Catfish

    Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate are debating the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But, the catfish, a popular farmed fish in some southern states, has caused a large share of the argument. Republican Senator John McCain criticized a measure calling for increased U.S. government inspections of Asian catfish. More

Featured Stories

  • Discover Debate

    Audio Successful Debate for New Learners and Large Classes

    Many students of English engage in debate as part of their training. In Part Two of our Successful Debate series, we learn the kinds of debate topics that work well for English learners. An expert shares tips for organizing a debate in a large class and for answering arguments. More

  • Nina Marranca looks at her phone, June 25, 2013.

    Audio Deaf-Blind Woman First to Use Braille Phone

    New technology allows deaf and blind people to use the telephone. The tests are underway in Australia and the U.S. It could help end isolation that people who cannot see or hear say they feel. Learn about this exciting new technology as well as words like "Braille" and "parallel testing." More

  • Video Resounding Earth: Creating Music from Metal

    "The title “Resounding Earth” on the one hand, we are talking about resounding earth. The earth is full of metals that all of mankind has turned into instruments. We are going to play them from all around the world together on one stage." More

  • Audio Common French Words in American English

    English is loaded with French words. Even if they mean something bad they sound so good. So read on to learn how to say them properly. Pictured here, French Actress Michele Morgan poses in a bathing suit at the 1st Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France in 1946. More

  • Audio Everyday Grammar: Problems with Pronouns and Gender

    The English language is changing to meet the needs of online communities and a quickly changing society. Do we need new pronouns to talk about a person whose gender is unknown? It’s common now to hear that “Everyone has their own opinion” on this issue. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs