Victoria Soto – Thank you
On December 14 2012 Victoria Soto died a hero. She was one of the staff members that was tragically shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Sandy Hook in Newtown Connecticut when a gunman entered the school grounds and opened fire. Victoria was just 27 years old as she died protecting her students in the place she was most comfortable, carrying out a job she loved best. At e-tut we respect and admire Victoria for her bravery and devotion to her students and her profession and it is with the utmost love and acknowledgement that we honour our blog in her memory.
She Died Doing What She Loved Best
Victoria beams in her snapshots. Her enthusiasm for life and happiness shines through and today the young teacher’s name invokes a portrait of utter selflessness amid unfathomable evil. Today, Victoria Soto is a hero. She died doing what she loved best and those who knew the vibrant personality say they are not surprised by her selfless act of ushering her Year 1’s into a closet to hide them from the gunman. Victoria died shielding her children with her body.
Her photos show a wide-smiling angel, barely an adult herself. Victoria’s mother has been reported as saying that she was the best daughter a mother could ask for and describing her as a woman who loved her family more than anything. In fact, Victoria’s friends and family say that teaching and her family were her life. During Victoria’s memorial service, one of the speakers told the gathered crowds that they had “a teacher who cared more about her students than herself.”
A Studious Persona Who Loved Her Family
Victoria graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University with degrees in both Elementary Education and History and was in the process of pursuing a master’s degree in Special Education at Southern Connecticut State University. She is said to have treasured spending time with her black Labrador Roxie and the photograph of Victoria with her furry friend has become a popular image of a carefree, beaming young woman embracing her four-legged companion. Victoria is said to have loved flamingos too, as well as reading books and soaking up sunshine.
Victoria had been a member of the Sandy Hook faculty for five years. She started out as an intern and long-term substitute teacher for two second-grade classes and one third-grade class where she spent two years of her time before becoming a full time member of the school’s faculty. She has been described as a dedicated educator who was enjoying her dream job. Victoria’s family have shared that her life’s dream was to be an educator and to mould young minds and they are convinced that her instincts kicked in when she thought that her students would come to harm.
Victoria’s burning desire to educate began at an early age and she is said to have wrote that she had a “passion for learning” on her online teacher’s page. She had also written that she looked forward “to an amazing year in the first grade with my amazing students of room 10!” Victoria was among six female adults who were killed during the horrendous massacre which also took the lives of 20 young children. The gunman, after embarking on the killing spree, then took his own life.
Idolised By Her Students
Miss Soto was popular not only with her students but with their parents too. One of the parents whose little girl was in Victoria’s class two years ago is said to have said that it didn’t surprise her that Victoria would do what she did. She described Victoria as a “vibrant woman who loved her kids and would be with the kids and spend time with them and sit on the floor with them.” That particular person stated that her daughter, now a Year 3 student, still idolised the brave teacher.
A Sibling Lost
Following in her aunt’s footsteps, Victoria always aspired to be an educator. Her sister is said to have told reporters that students always brought a smile to Victoria’s face and that she would arrive home with delightful stories of what the kids had done that day and how well they were progressing and also how they would simply make her laugh. During the memorial service, Victoria’s sister, Carlee, said “she loved those students more than anything and she didn’t call them students; she call them her kids.” Carlee sobbed as she said “the pain is unbelievable.”
Her other sister, Jillian, is said to have told Victoria during the memorial service: “Truthfully, you have been a hero to me for a lot longer than five days. You’ve been my big sister. The one I always looked up to.” During Victoria’s memorial service in Stratford, mourners donned green ribbons – her favourite colour – and spoke of her selfless final act.
Dedicated and Courageous
If it was not for the courageous response of this educator more children may have lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary that day. In fact, it may have taken such a tragedy for parents around the world to realise just how much teachers care for their students – and not only about their education, but their complete well-being. It has also made many realise how teachers do in fact put themselves on the front line for their students – other people’s children.
On the day she died, Victoria Soto had gone to the Sandy Hook library earlier in the morning to find a book to read to her Year 1’s. Yvonne Cech, the school librarian, is said to have described Victoria as an “amazing and wonderful teacher.” She is also said to have remarked that Victoria “loved her kids. It seemed that at the start of each year she loved them automatically.”
One Lost But So Many Gained In Memory
Victoria Soto may have left the physical world and her family but through her brave and selfless act she has gained many families around the world and we at e-tut thank her for her unwavering devotion to her family, her profession and her students and for being a true teacher and shining light on one of Connecticut’s darkest days. We hope that her family finds peace through the messages of support and admiration for their daughter.