Once again, we are reminded of the amazing work and care that teachers and school administrators do that goes well beyond just teaching children.
Hero teacher Kaitlin Roig tells ABC News that she barricaded her first grade students in classroom bathroom and locked the door when she first heard gun shots. “The kids were being so good. They asked: ‘Can we go see if anyone is out there? … I just want Christmas… I don’t want to die, I just want to have Christmas.’ I said, you’re going to have Christmas and Hanukkah.. I tried to be positive.”
Ed Pilikington’s profile of Sandy Hook Elementary School principal, Dawn Hochsprung, who was murdered yesterday:
As confirmation that she was among the dead circulated in the small community of Newtown, where the school that she had led for the past two years is one of the central pillars, there was an outpouring of emotion from the parents of her charges and friends. “Dawn Hochsprung touched many of our hearts with her professionalism and love for her students,” said the first selectman for nearby Bethlehem in Connecticut, Jeff Hamel.
Dawn Czaplicki, who had known the principal since their own high school days, remembered her as “a mature and very smart young lady full of life and always had a smile on her face that could only warm your heart.”
In the two years that she led the Sandy Hook elementary, Hochsprung, 47, had emphasised its strong community role. When she sent memos to parents she would address them to the “Sandy Hook family”.
Later today, the names of all the victims will be released. We will learn their stories and we will know their sacrifices. We will probably learn that yesterday some of the school teachers and administrators who died protecting other people’s children left behind children of their own. No matter what, they certainly left behind partners, parents, siblings, friends, a whole community of people who are now grieving their deaths.
And I just want to send a simple thank you to all teachers and school administrators. Thank you.
UPDATE #1: Credit to The Guardian for the following links.
Family learned early Saturday morning that Lauren was one of six adults killed by a shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday morning.
Lauren, after years of working as a substitute teacher, — while working other jobs to earn a living — landed a full-time teaching job at Sandy Hook Elementary School this fall.
“It was the best year of her life,” said Teresa Rousseau, Lauren’s mother and a copy editor at The News-Times. […]
“She was like a kid in many ways,” her father, Gilles Rousseau, said. “That’s why she liked working with kids so much. She died with her little kids.”
Victoria Soto, a first-grade teacher, died after hiding her students, a source told The Courant.
Soto was a teacher in room 10, the classroom next to where the shooting began, the source said. She hid her students — 15 or 16 of them, some possibly in a bathroom — before Lanza entered the room.
He wanted to shoot more people, the source said. But seeing no one but Soto, he shot her, then left the room.
UPDATE #2: More from a teacher on the scene:
The hero music teacher who saved 20 children from being shot dead by the Newtown killer has revealed that she kept them quiet by saying prayers and telling them: ‘I love you’.
Maryrose Kristopik said she barricaded herself in to the closet with the nine and 10-year-olds while gunman Adam Lanza, 20, reportedly battered on the door screaming: ‘Let me in! Let me in!’
Dawn Hochsprung, the school principal who died yesterday, had a Twitter feed. It will break your heart.
UPDATE #3: From NBC News:
Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach, both among those killed, were said to have run toward the gunfire as it broke out, with Hochsprung lunging at the gunman, according to town officials. […]
Mary Ann Jacob, a school library aide, told reporters Saturday that she took 18 4th graders into the back of a classroom and blocked the door with a filing cabinet. “The kids cozied up, and we waited,” Jacob said, adding that the children were told it was a drill. “When the police finally came, we were afraid to open the door,” she said of the hour-long ordeal. […]
A custodian warned of the gunman by running through the halls, said 4th-grade teacher Theodore Varga. “He said, ‘Guys! Get down! Hide!'” Varga said. “So he was actually a hero.” It was not known if the custodian, whose name was not released, had survived.
UPDATE #4: Their names were released today. Here is the entire victim list, including the 20 children (all ages 6 and 7).
Rachel Davino, age 29
Dawn Hochsprung, age 47
Anne Marie Murphy, age 52
Lauren Rousseau, age 30
Mary Sherlach, age 56
Victoria Soto, age 27