Teachers Heroes

Victoria Soto

by Kelli from San Diego

Fairfield police Chief Gary Macnamara called Ms.Soto a "tremendous hero" and said sacrificing her life was "the ultimate strength" (Mirror).  Friday, December 14th, Victoria Soto became a victim, as well as, a hero in one of the largest school shooting massacres. Her inspiration to begin teaching, was Soto's aunt who encouraged  her to get her first job at Sandy Hook Elementary as a first grade teacher. Remembered as the funniest person and the one that could always take a joke, is how her cousin recalled Soto.  She had a smile on her face at all times and it could never be dulled. Soto's roommate recounted that she was always up for anything and was not afraid to take a risk. She would try things over and over again until she got them. She would never take no for an answer and would never lose hope. Her devotion to her profession was insane, Victoria's best friend said. She spent time every morning and evening writing lesson plans for her students. She spent large amounts of time working on poster boards and always did above and beyond for her class. Victoria Soto is known as a hero for her heroic act of trying to save her first grade class from shots fired by gunman, Adam Lanza. Even though Soto is no longer alive, her favorite places carry her spirits. Soto spent a lot of time worshipping at the Lordship Community Church near Sandy Hook where she made a strong connection with God. She could often be found at home with her family and friends laughing or playing with her dog Roxy. The most important event in Soto's life was getting hired at Sandy Hook. After two years of being a partner teacher at the school, she was finally able to become a full time teacher. Little did Soto know, Sandy Hook was where she would begin and end her teaching career.  Soto is not only selfless, but very brave. She cared more about others than her own self. She was always up for a challenge or anxious to try something new; she was never afraid. Victoria Soto is a woman who showed selflessness and bravery by protecting the children in her classroom, therefore, she is my hero.

Soto cared more about protecting her students, than protecting herself. In an NBC article it described Victoria Soto's bravery as "the 27-year-old's selfless final act: She died trying to protect her first-grade students at Sandy Hook Elementary School from rifle fire during the massacre" (NBC News). Victoria Soto would have never thought in a million years that her classroom would be one of the targets of a shooting. From drill to drill, she knew what to do; she had the directions memorized  never thinking something like this would ever happen in a "innocent" state as Connecticut. When the intercom announced an intruder who was armed and had entered the campus, Soto frantically began clearing out cabinets and trying to fit as many kids as she could inside them. After all the cabinets were filled, she began hiding kids into the classroom bathroom, telling them to be quiet until she said it was safe. As Adam Lanza entered the classroom, Soto told Lanza the kids were in the gym. Sadly a few seconds after saying that, a few kids ran out of the cabinets causing Lanza to begin shooting.  She attempted to be a human shield over the students that had ran out. Writer of NY Daily, Kerrie Wills talks about Victoria saying, "She took a bullet for her kids" (Wills).   Although Victoria Soto did not save all 20 students, she did save 16. As soon as Lanza lifted his gun to begin shooting she acted quickly. Soto jumped in front of the children trying to keep them safe and alive.  She unconditionally loved her students and  never would have wanted any of them to leave this world the way some did. Before Lanza entered the class, Soto told all the children she loved them.  She wanted that to be the last thing they heard if they were to leave this world. She could have joined her students locked in the bathroom, but instead she was front and center trying her best to protect her little "angels."

Victoria Soto is not only a hero due to her selfless act, but in addition she was a very brave woman. When asked about Soto, the Connecticut sheriff said, "He called the six women "the ultimate first responders, but with no tools, and no preparation" (Zaretsky).   Soto had no idea that Friday, December 14th, one of the biggest shooting massacres would take place in her classroom and be headlining worldwide. This time it was not a drill. It was not a practice run. She had no time to think of a plan so that she could save herself and her students. She reacted as fast as possible, quickly hiding her students in the classroom bathroom and in many different cabinets. Showing true bravery, she acted as a shield to protect her students from ending their lives short. She did not only follow her training instructions, but she followed her heart and she knew exactly what she had to do - protect these children. That is the only thing that went through her mind. Soto referred to Lanza as a monster who had entered the school. She told her students it was a game of hide and seek and not to come out until she found them. Soto told the children she was not going to play and she would be fine at her desk. She knew she could not show that she was afraid.  If she were to show her true feelings her students would be afraid and many more students would not be alive today.  Kerrie Wills, writer for NY Daily news says, "Soto paid for her bravery with her life" (Wills).  Victoria Soto's first instinct was to guard the safety of her kids.  She did not say anything negative, afraid it would make the children cry. She took a bullet for 16 of her students. She truly showed her bravery that day, because of what she did.  16 kids get to see another day; 16 kids get to experience another Christmas with their families; 16 kids will forever be thankful for the rest of their lives.

Victoria Soto was a woman who showed ultimate bravery and selflessness during a tragedy, a school shooting,  that seems to be occurring more and more in America today. Soto sacrificed her life for her students so that they were able to see another day. She put herself out in the open as a human shield to protect her students from the gunman. She did not think twice of what to do but followed her heart in order to save others. Even though she could not save herself, she saved 16 others. "Her sacrifice seemed to have been presaged. In her yearbook, Victoria chose this quote to accompany her profile: "You've got to dance like nobody's watching. Dream like you will live forever, live like [you're] gonna die tomorrow, and love like it's never going to hurt" (U.S.). Victoria Soto is my inspiration because not only did she risk her life to save her students, but because she did not think twice about it. One year ago my pastor told me "Dream like you will live forever, live like you're gonna die tomorrow,and love like it's never going to hurt." That quote is one of my favorites and it also happens to be one of Soto's favorite quotes. Victoria Soto followed the message of that quote; she lived her life to the fullest, putting others ahead of herself. She shielded her kids and because of her actions, it is only her spirit that lives on today. Victoria Soto had unconditional love for her students and due to her bravery and selflessness apparent in her attempt to save them, now her life is best remembered through the children that she LOVED.

"Family, Friends Remember the Brave, Caring Legacy of Sandy Hook Teacher Vicki Soto, 27."

Daily News. Kerrie Wills, n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2014.

Sandy Hook educators posthumously honored by Congressional Medal of Honor Society By:

Zaretsky, Mark, New Haven Register (CT), May 07, 2013

'She Died a Hero': Teacher Shot Dead Trying to Protect Children in Sandy Hook Massacre Laid to

Rest." Mirror. Mirror Online, n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2014.

"U.S. News." NBC News. Nbc News, 19 Dec. 2012. Web. 05 Feb. 2014.

Page created on 11/9/2014 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 11/9/2014 12:00:00 AM

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