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Tragedy at One School, Renewal at Another

In late December, funerals took place for the shooting victims in Newtown, Connecticut where 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 children, six educators and himself. Officials say Adam Lanza used guns owned by his mother, who he also killed during the shooting. The incident was the second deadliest shooting at an American school.

In 2007, a student at Virginia Tech University killed 32 people and then himself. What happened in Newtown has reopened debate about gun control and issues like mental health services.

President Obama spoke at a memorial service in the town. He said he will use whatever power he has to prevent more tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook. He named Vice President Joe Biden to lead a team to develop proposals to reduce gun violence. But days earlier, another community not far away regained a school in a story of hope and renewal.

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. For six weeks, more than 200 students and teachers went to another school while Saint Camillus was being repaired. But the reopening of the school on December 10th was a victory for the community.

School secretary Kerry Montero says the message from Hurricane Sandy is clearest in many recent acts of kindness. She said people from Connecticut, California and Brooklyn, New York, all offered help.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Laurel Bowman . (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 20Dec2012)