In Memory of Newtown – One Year Later

Rectory English teacher, Ms. O'Neil


Rectory English teacher, Ms. O'Neil

After the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, last year, Rectory English teacher, Ms. O’Neil, asked her eighth-grade students to write an essay about their faith in humanity. One of those students, Anna T., who is now in ninth grade, and who is also on the DiRectory newspaper staff, suggested that we run these student essays in our paper as a tribute to those who lost their lives during this senseless act of violence. With blessings from our Headmaster, Mr. Fred Williams, and with the permission of Ms. O’Neil and the students who wrote the attached essays, we would like you to read what some of our own students were thinking and feeling last year at that time, just days after they had heard about this tragedy. As you will see, though their faith may have been shaken a bit, these students are optimistic about the world and its future. They saw the incident as a call for action, a chance for them to enact change to make the world a safer and happier place. As an educator, I believe that is the main purpose of education, to teach students how to enable compassion and kindness to shine in the world and to give them the tools to make it happen.

I would like to sincerely thank Anna for her warm and heartfelt suggestion to share these student essays with you, and in the spirit of charity, as the one-year anniversary of the tragedy is now upon us and the holiday season is quickly approaching, we would also like to ask all our readers to honor the request of the parents who lost loved ones on that fateful day. These parents have asked that each and every one of us perform an act of kindness on Saturday, December 14th, in memory of their children. It could be as simple as smiling at a stranger to make them feel noticed, or running an errand for someone who is sick or frail, or visiting someone who is housebound or hospitalized, or any number of small, but meaningful acts of kindness and generosity. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but, I can assure you, if you are the recipient of such an act of kindness, it will truly make a difference in your life and in your heart. Thank you for taking the time to read our student essays, and thank you for making the world a nicer place on Saturday, December 14th, in memory of Newtown!

Anna T. English essay Newtown

Greg R. Faith in Humanity Essay