EDITORIAL: The Chalk Hill miracle

When a neighbor is in trouble, we help them. When a neighbor is in despair, we reach out to them. That is exactly what the town of Monroe — its municipal leaders, school leaders, community groups, and people — have done during the past month to comfort those who have been suffering in our neighbor to the north, Newtown.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a tragedy that has touched a special place in everyone’s heart — across the country and across the globe. That pain was especially difficult to fathom right here, in the towns near Newtown. We have friends and relatives in Newtown, we shop and dine in Newtown, we regularly pass through Newtown.

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No one could read the stories of those killed — from the 20 first graders to the six adult educators — without tearing up. It was difficult to keep reading their stories sometimes. So innocent, so full of life, so much to give and accomplish.


To help in some way, any way

When something terrible happens, most people’s first reaction is to help in some way, any way. From memorial ribbons to teddy bears to scarves to homemade signs, people did what they could to try to comfort the people of Newtown and the families that lost loved ones. They donated money and attended fund-raising events.

Monroe was in a unique position to also do something more concrete. It had a vacant school, a building in limbo, only about seven miles from the Newtown school where the tragedy took place on Dec. 14.

So it was offered to Newtown and in a matter of a few weeks, with the help of many workers and volunteers, it was transformed back into a school again.

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Less than three weeks after the incident, the new Sandy Hook Elementary School opened its doors. Students and teachers and other staff and parents had a new daytime home. Many Monroe homeowners put large ribbons, signs and balloons in their yards to welcome them.

It’s hard to describe the pride that people in Monroe must feel about being able to provide a new school to Sandy Hook Elementary students and staff under such tragic circumstances.

Call it helping a neighbor in trouble. Call it reaching out to a neighbor in despair. Call it the Chalk Hill miracle.



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