LIFESTYLE

Victoria Soto School opens in honor of hero teacher killed at Sandy Hook shooting

Not far from where Victoria Soto gave her life protecting her 1st-grade students two and a half years ago, a new school in Connecticut opened on Friday honoring her name and heroism.

The new elementary school will serve students in kindergarten through second grade, operating within the Statford Academy.

The building is equipped with security features including a buzzer system and bulletproof glass.

Outside, a big mosaic mural with tiles designed by the Soto family that depicts the Puerto Rican teacher's favorite animal: flamingos.

According to the Stratford Star, three classroom wings have ceilings that lift up, with an airfoil section to allow for natural daylight. The building also spaces such as a gym, café, art and music room facing the courtyard.

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Soto was 27 years old when she died trying to shield her students during a bloody rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. Twenty-six people, including 20 children, were killed.

The 2013 resolution approving the name for the new school described Soto as someone who “exemplified the very best qualities of an elementary-school educator and whose passion for teaching was evident in every moment of her professional life.”

“Victoria Soto’s courage, dedication and self-sacrifice demonstrate a strength of character and extraordinary commitment to her students of the absolute highest magnitude,” it read.
John Harkins, the mayor of Stratford, where Soto grew up, told Fox News Latino in 2013 that the town also planned to build a memorial to Soto.

"In the days since the tragedy in Sandy Hook, the stories of bravery and heroism by Stratford's own Victoria Soto have been both heart-wrenching and abundant," Harkins said. "She gave her life protecting children, and we must make sure her sacrifice is never forgotten."

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