LINCOLN — When Ellen Kopetzky entered Lincoln's Pius X High School eight days ago, she was attacked by a fellow student.
Tuesday morning, she returned to a standing ovation from the Pius X student body.
The school held an assembly to mark Kopetzky's return to classes after the Oct. 7 incident, in which she received two hammer blows to the head and cuts to her face. Classmate Sarah Piccolo, 16, faces two felony assault charges.
Kopetzky, a 17-year-old senior, was all smiles Tuesday as she spoke to the student body about faith and getting back to normal.
“Everyone experienced something scary last Monday,” Kopetzky said. “For me, it was over quickly. I went to the hospital and it was done. But you had to wait in your classrooms for two hours not knowing what was going on with police coming in and out of the school.”
“It's good to talk about it now,” she said. “We went through it together, and we can move on together.”
The only sign of last Monday's injuries was a small cut on Kopetzky's chin. Kopetzky's sisters, Kathryn, 20, and Megan, 23, accompanied her to the podium in the middle of the Pius X gym while her parents watched from a distance. Ellen Kopetzky did not take questions from reporters after the assembly.
The Rev. Jim Meysenburg, the school superintendent, said Kopetzky is ready to get back to normal.
“She was very eager to come back,” he said. “She was able to work through a lot and now she just wants to be a normal student again.”
Meysenburg recalled that Kopetzky was smiling in her hospital bed the night of the attack, bragging that she had received plastic surgery.
Kopetzky remained just as upbeat on Tuesday. She thanked students and their families for their prayers throughout the process. A video of Pius X students singing the song, Ave Maria, particularly touched Kopetzky.
“That's my favorite song,” Kopetzky said to her fellow students. “I want to thank all of you for your prayers. Some of you I haven't even met, but you still showed me so much kindness.”
Meysenburg said it was good for the students to see a smiling Kopetzky. It makes it that much easier for the school to get back to normal, he said.
“It just shows that we are all in this together,” Meysenburg said.
Kopetzky also asked her fellow students to continue prayers for Piccolo, who was given pretrial release Friday and ordered to stay away from the school.
“We should be praying for Sarah every day,” she said.