Victoria Leigh "Vicki" Soto (November 4, 1985 – December 14, 2012) was an American educator who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Soto hid students and died trying to protect them from shooter Adam Lanza.
Soto was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Carlos Soto, a native of Bayamón, Puerto Rico, and Donna Fagan-Soto, of Irish-American descent. Her father worked for the Connecticut Department of Transportation as a crane operator and her mother was a nurse at Bridgeport Hospital. Her family moved to Stratford, Connecticut. In 2003, she graduated from Stratford High School and enrolled and attended Eastern Connecticut State University where in 2008, she earned her Bachelors degrees in both education and history. Up until the time of her death, she was residing with her parents and pursuing her Masters degree at Southern Connecticut State University. In 2007, Soto began to teach at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She was known by her students and fellow colleagues alike as "Miss Soto".
Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting
On December 14, 2012, Soto was at the school teaching her first grade class. Adam Lanza, a former student, shot his way in through a locked glass door at the front of the school and shot Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach as they confronted him. Shots and screaming were heard over the intercom system and Soto hid several children in a closet. When Lanza entered her classroom, Soto told him that the children were in the auditorium. However, several of the children then came out of their hiding places and ran. As they ran, Lanza shot them dead. Soto, fearing for the lives of her other students put herself between her students and the shooter who then fatally shot her. In all, Lanza gunned down twenty first-graders and six school personnel before committing suicide.
Funeral and legacy
A memorial service was held on December 15, and funeral services took take place on December 19 at her church, Lordship Community Church. American musician and songwriter Paul Simon performed at the funeral services and sang "The Sound of Silence". Stratford Mayor John Harkins said, "You have a teacher who cared more about her students than herself. That speaks volumes to her character, and her commitment and dedication." On December 20, she was interred at Union Cemetery Stratford, Fairfield County, Connecticut. The State Police honor guard saluted Soto's hearse as it drove by them. Soto is survived by her parents, two sisters, and a brother.
Eastern Connecticut State University announced the creation of the "Victoria Leigh Soto Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund" in her honor. The scholarship will be awarded to students who aspire to become educators.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Victoria Soto, Newtown Teacher, Emerges As Hero After Shooting. Huffingtonpost.com (December 16, 2012). Retrieved on December 21, 2012.
- ↑ Delgado, José A. (December 18, 2012). Cita con los ángeles de Newtown (Date with the Angels of Newtown) (Spanish). El Nuevo Dia. Retrieved on December 21, 2012.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Victoria Leigh Soto (Obituary). Newtown Bee (December 18, 2012). Retrieved on December 21, 2012.
- ↑ Muskal, Michael (December 14, 2012). Police: 20 children among 27 victims of Connecticut school shooting. Latimes.com. Retrieved on December 21, 2012.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Largas filas para despedir a la heroína hispana de Sandy Hook (Long lines bid farewell to Hispanic heroine of Sandy Hook) (Spanish). El Diario. Eldiariony.com (December 18, 2012). Retrieved on December 21, 2012.
- ↑ Llanos, Miguel (December 14, 2012). "Authorities ID gunman who killed 27 in elementary school massacre". NBC News. Associated Press. http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/14/15911025-authorities-id-gunman-who-killed-27-in-elementary-school-massacre?lite. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
- ↑ Barry Paddock; Chelsia Rose Marcius; Corky Siemaszko (19 December 2012). "Paul Simon sings at funeral of Sandy Hook heroine teacher Victoria Leigh Soto as Newtown lays to rest another hero school staffer and four slain students". New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/day-mourning-newtown-article-1.1223676. Retrieved 19 December 2012. "Simon sang "The Sound of Silence", the favorite song of Soto, who was the teacher who shielded students from Adam Lanza's bullets"
- ↑ Ocasio, Keila (December 19, 2012). 'Sound of Silence' lays hero teacher to rest. CTpost.com. Retrieved on December 21, 2012.
- ↑ Iconic photo of woman’s anguish before learning her sister died in the Newtown massacre is a reminder that ‘kills,’ Carlee Soto says
- ↑ Shooting Victim's Sister Haunted by Iconic Photo
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