January 29, 2015 14:20 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

  • Burning vehicles are seen near the village of Ghajar on Israel's border with Lebanon, Jan. 28, 2015.

    Audio Israeli Soldiers Killed in Exchange of Gunfire with Hezbollah

    Two Israeli soldiers and a UN peacekeeping soldier were killed Wednesday along the border between Israel and Lebanon. Jordan to trade jailed suspected terrorist for hostage with IS. Afghan cabinet nominees rejected. New Greek government holds first meeting. Democratic ideals are under threat More

  • Audio Lebanese Women Make Peace One Meal at a Time

    War in Lebanon continues. Women from the opposing sides are coming together to cook – thanks to a non-profit called Ruwwad al Tanmeya-Lebanon. Experienced chefs helped the women complete training. Now they are selling their food to organizations such as the Red Cross. More

  • Audio Rights Group Accuses Ethiopia of Suppressing Media

    Human Rights Watch says Ethiopian officials are taking steps against independent media and journalists who have different opinions than the government. The report shows how the Ethiopian government has restricted independent reporting and 22 journalists have been charged with crimes. More

  • NASA

    Video NASA Keeping Watch on the Earth’s Health

    The past year has been the busiest 12-month period for the American space agency in more than 10 years. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, launched three missions in 2014. It began a fourth project earlier this month. A fifth launch is set for this January 29. More

  • Libyan security forces and emergency services surround Tripoli's central Corinthia Hotel (R) in the Libyan capital,  Jan. 27, 2015.

    Audio Libya Hotel Attack Kills Five Foreigners

    At least 5 foreigners and 3 guards were killed Tuesday in a hotel attack in Tripoli; President Obama pays respects to Saudi King; Islamic State militants threaten two hostages’ lives; Indonesia’s military halts its search for a passenger plane; and the US northeast is hit with a big snowstorm. More

Featured Stories

  • NYC subway art

    Video New York's 'Underground Museum' Pleases Passerby

    For the past thirty years, artists have been asked to create works of art for New York’s huge subway and train system. The works often relate to city life or to the neighborhood of a station. Some people call it New York’s “underground art museum," with over 250 pieces of original artwork. More

  • agridrone

    Video French Farmers Are Using Drones to Examine Their Crops

    It used to be mostly the military that used small, unpiloted aircraft, called “drones.” The little planes were very costly. But as they have dropped in price more people have begun to use them. Rescue workers and farmers are among the new users. The drones save money and time. More

  • Video Is There a Better Way to Track Passenger Planes?

    New technology could help to more closely follow passenger airplanes, and find them when they crash; international group to meet next month to discuss changes. Airline industry leaders and regulators want to improve airplane safety. They want better, more dependable tracking devices. More

  • Obama

    Audio Has Obama Set the Message for the 2016 Campaign?

    “I have no more campaigns to run … I know because I won both of them.” Mr. Obama cannot run for president again – U.S. presidents may serve only two terms. But some observers say his most recent State of the Union message on the middle class sounded like a campaign speech. More

  • American Sniper

    Video With Oscar Nomination, 'American Sniper' Stirs Debate

    The movie is based on a book by Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. He is considered the deadliest marksman in the history of the United States military. The film explores how war can affect a soldier's mental and emotional health and stirs a debate on social media over its message. More

Practice Your Writing

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

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs