October 25, 2014 02:53 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

  • Audio Wealth, Poverty Are Issues in Hong Kong Protests

    The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong are mainly about the right to vote without interference from China’s central government. But there are at least two other less talked-about issues. One is concern about the rising cost of living in Hong Kong. Another is the gap between rich and poor. More

  • Texas Voter ID

    Audio US Supreme Court Allows Texas Voter ID Law

    The United States Supreme Court says the southwestern state of Texas can keep in place a new voting law. The law says voters must show identification documents before they are permitted to mark ballots. A lower court had ruled that the law could keep minorities from voting. More

  • President Barack Obama hugs Dallas nurse Nina Pham as her mother Diane looks on, Oval Office, Washington, Oct. 24, 2014.

    Audio In US, Fear of Ebola Spreads Faster than Virus

    For Americans, Ebola started out as a disease in a far-away continent. But it changed when a Liberian man died in Dallas. US officials said tests show that a New York doctor has the Ebola virus. The doctor recently treated Ebola patients in Guinea working for Doctors Without Borders. More

  • Brazil Elections

    Audio Who Will Be Brazil's Next President?

    Brazilians will choose a president Sunday. Two candidates will be on the ballot -- Dilma Rousseff and Senator Aecio Neves. President Rousseff won the most votes in the first round of voting earlier this month. But she did not win a majority of votes, so a runoff election is required. More

  • Audio Gunman Identified in Canadian Capital

    Also, UN human rights officials have called on China to guarantee open elections in Hong Kong. And, an attack in southwest Pakistan kills 11 people. WHO advises against Ebola travel bans. | In the News More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Oscar de la Renta Dressed First Ladies and Movie Stars

    Clothing designer Oscar de la Renta died Monday at his home in the American state of Connecticut. He was 82 years old. His wife said he died of problems related to cancer. Mr. de la Renta dressed American movie stars and first ladies such as Jacqueline Kennedy, Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton. More

  • Audio Iron Ships Clash at Sea

    The American Civil War was fought not only on land, but at sea. In 1862, Confederate and Union forces fought a new kind of navy battle in waters off Hampton Roads, Virginia. It was the first battle between iron ships. On the Confederate side was a ship called the Virginia. | The Making of a Nation More

  • Audio San Francisco Radio Stations Ban Lorde's 'Royals'

    The California baseball team, San Francisco Giants, is playing the Kansas City Royals for the 2014 Major League Baseball championship, the World Series. Two radio stations in San Francisco banned the hit song "Royals." In return, another station in Kansas City chose to play the song once every hour. More

  • A neurovascular unit on a chip being developed by Vanderbilt University researchers. (Vanderbilt University Photo/John Wikswo)

    Video Scientists Design Chips to Act Like Human Organs

    Testing new drugs for safety and effectiveness is a costly process in the United States. It also can take a lot of time. Some scientists are now designing silicon computer chips that act like human organs. The scientists think they have found a way to make the process faster and more economical. More

  • Brain Resource Infographic

    Audio Dealing with Distractions and Overreactions

    Five million American children and teenagers have Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD. ADHD makes it difficult - if not impossible - to stay with a duty until it is complete. Katherine Ellison knows the problem well. | Health Report More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs