The following is a released letter signed by the faculty and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School. The letter was received late Thursday morning, December 19, after the deadline for The Newtown Bee print edition of December 20, 2013.
According to the email submitted to The Bee with the letter, “The faculty and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School have come together to write a thank you letter that we would like to share with the world. The outpouring of love, kindness, and support shown to us over the past 12 months has been extraordinary and we would like the opportunity to say thank you.”
Thank You Letter To The World
During this time of year when we send wishes of peace and think about all we are thankful for, the staff of Sandy Hook Elementary would like to gratefully acknowledge all of the gestures of thoughtfulness, peace, and solidarity extended to us over the past twelve months.
On December 14, 2012, we were changed. Our hearts were shattered, some of us frozen in time, some broken, many confused. We are more than educators. We are creatures of routines, following schedules, and supplying predictability to our students. We are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives loving our students as if they were our own children.
Our school community was changed that day. Within our four walls we began to follow a new lesson plan; one that none of us had ever navigated before. We returned to the halls of a different school together, thanks to our neighboring town of Monroe, who said, “We have a school for you.” Within days, teams of movers, electricians, plumbers, local teachers, custodians, and parents volunteered their time the weeks before and after Christmas to make this school our new home.
Although at different places in our healing, we returned to the halls a united family of educators, paraeducators, office staff, kitchen staff, custodians, and therapists. We returned knowing that the world was holding our hands.
We returned to cards and notes from fellow educators from schools both near and far. “We are thinking of you.” “We are standing with you.” “You are in our thoughts and prayers.” We returned to beautiful messages of peace from people all over the world. If you are reading this and thinking, “but I only sent a small note…”, know that your note was reread during a difficult time and gave us strength.
Love came to us through letters, teddy bears, snowflakes, meals for our families, and messages left on our answering machines. From emails to song lyrics, to artwork, to a gentle smile from a stranger who noticed our green bracelets. Each gesture of kindness filled a space in our broken hearts and helped us to take steps forward, always knowing that the world was still watching and caring.
We are here, at Sandy Hook School, day after day, together. Our students continue to be our number one priority. We are teaching and shepherding the students of Newtown, providing support to the families and to the many foundations that have been established. We are at Sandy Hook School supporting each other as we do the jobs we love.
So this is our thank you to the world. You will never know how grateful we are for the strength you sent to us. Just know that because of you we continue to believe our school song lyrics, “and Sandy Hook School Forever”.
The Faculty and Staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School