Sunday, September 1, 2013

Remembering Vicki Leigh Soto November 4, 1985 - December 14, 2012

Before Dec. 14, 2012, most people in America knew nothing of Vicki Soto, however, following that day she became everyone's hero.

Vicki, was one of several heroes who died that day at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut protecting innocent children from a deranged killer.  After the gunman entered the school, Soto hid her students and then died protecting them.

Victoria Soto was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  Her dad was from Puerto Rico and employed by the Connecticut Dept. of Transportation as a crane operator and her mom, a nurse at Bridgeport Hospital.

After graduating from Stratford High School in 2003, Soto continued her education at Eastern Connecticut State University while earning bachelors degrees in both history and education.  She was currently working on her graduate degree from the Southern Connecticut State University and was teaching as an intern at Sandy Hook elementary.
Vicki's funeral program

On her personal side, she was a huge New York Yankees fan.  Some of her favorite things included flamingos and Christmas.  She "always" had to decorate the family Christmas tree.  And then there was her beloved dog, Roxie, who waited for her to return from school everyday.

According to her memorial program (pictured) Teaching was her passion, following in the footsteps of her aunt, molding young minds was her priority, but being the "fun teacher" is what she was all about.

On Dec. 14, she was teaching first grade when the tragedy began.  The killer had already shot and killed fifteen students and two teachers when he entered Soto's classroom.  When hearing the shots, Soto began hiding her children in a closet.  When the shooter, Adam Lanza entered her room, she told him that the children were in the auditorium.  Tragically, some of the students began running from their hiding places when he began firing shots at them.  Soto was shot and killed when she threw herself in front of her kids having made herself a human shield to protect them.

She has become the face of heroism.  A local school has been named in her honor as well as awards, scholarships, parades, and even a playground.  She and the other heroes that day posthumously received the Presidential Citizens Medal that honors Americans who have performed exemplary deeds of service to their country.
Vicki Soto's funeral

A service of faith and thanksgiving celebrating the life of Victoria Soto was held on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 in the Lordship Community Church in Stratford.  Among those who paid tribute to her included several family members. Musical icon, Paul Simon sang his familiar words to Soto's favorite song " The Sound of Silence" while her pastor Rev. Meg Boxwell Williams said of her "Her last act was selfless, Christlike in laying down her life for her children."

Vicki Soto was laid to rest in the Union Cemetery in Stratford while being saluted by the Connecticut State Police Honor Guard.

Vicki Soto's gravesite

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