Hurricane Sandy Through the Eyes of a Rockaway Principal

Photo by Kate Falzarano

As many of us get back in the routine of sending our kids to school, that same routine is not happening for many kids in the Rockaways. Their lives have been changed forever. To get a better understanding of what it’s like, this is the way Brian O’Connell, principal of the Scholar’s Academy, views Hurricane Sandy.

“Traumatic events have the potential to bring out the worst or best in people. As the school principal of the Scholars’ Academy in Rockaway Park, I have had the privilege and good fortune to witness countless acts of compassion and kindness as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

The awesome power unleashed by this storm humbled me as a human, a father, and a principal. Fortunately, an equally awe-inspiring and humbling counter-lever to this storm has been the great response by people throughout New York City, pitching in to help us deal with the recovery process.

The Scholars’ Academy staff, as well as countless New York City Department of Education central office staff, has been toiling around the clock to get students back to learning throughout the city. In Rockaway, where I lived until the storm, city workers (sanitation workers, police, fireman, etc.) and countless volunteers have been joining with residents to dig out of this mess. It is truly inspirational to see the good in people. We can focus upon the looting and the negatives in the aftermath of the storm, but the reality is that I am witnessing much more good in people than evil.”


To read more of Brian’s story, visit SchoolBook: The View From The Eye Of The Storm