New school symbolizes strength

James Everett

While millions of people across the country enjoyed their weekends watching the NCAA Final Four, or maybe Donald Trump saving his hair in Wrestle Mania 20-something, the people of Nickel Mines, Pa. quietly completed the construction of a one-room school house.

The New Hope Amish School stands just a few hundred yards away from the spot where ten little girls were shot – five of them killed – last October. None of them was older than 13.

But this school wasn’t built by a construction company. No, the school, which can only be reached by a private drive and also features sophisticated locks, was built by the entire community of the small town.

The school is intended to symbolize a new beginning for both the students and the town – and it amazes me.

In a world so reliant on technological advancement, the simple people of Nickel Mines rely on heart, love and endurance. They built promise out of destruction and resurrection from darkness – and it amazes me.

Of course, school shootings are nothing new in this country. From the horrific events at Columbine High School in ’99 to another in Red Lake, Minn. in the spring of 2005, they have unfortunately become common, if not expected, events.

And yet these people, known more for their plain dress and minimal use of modern conveniences than for their toughness, came together with a single goal – to rebuild.

To rebuild a school, to rebuild shattered hearts and to rebuild a town that no one outside a 50 mile radius would have ever heard of had such an event not taken place – and it amazes me.

Could you imagine what this world would be like if everyone was able to work together like the people of Nickel Mines have? Forget the world – what about just the people of Cleveland, or maybe Pittsburgh?

Can’t picture it? Try New York City in the months following 9/11. It can be done, but unfortunately we seem to wait for tragedy before we act.

The Amish don’t see it that way.

I call their act heroic, but I bet if they read this column, they would simply chuckle and call it a busy weekend.

This Monday the school will welcome four of the five young girls who were injured that awful day, among others. The fifth girl, a 6-year-old who remains on a feeding tube, is unable to communicate. Instead, the actions of her people must speak for her.

And it amazes me.

James Everetts is a broadcast news major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].