According to the Facebook entry at the end of this post, 27-year-old teacher Victoria Soto hid her students in closets and cabinets; she told the killer the children were in the gym. Her first thought was to protect her children. He killed her.

The Wall Street Journal said this about her on a blog:

First-grade teacher Vicki Leigh Soto, 27 years old, died trying to protect the children she loved, her cousin Jim Wiltsie said.

When the gunfire started on Friday morning, she gathered her students and tried to hide them in a classroom closet, officials told her family.

“In doing so, she put herself between the kids and the gunman’s bullets,” said Mr. Wiltsie, who is a police officer. “That is how she was found. Huddled with her children.” He said he didn’t know if her students were among the dead.

Ms. Soto, who had just turned 27 last month, grew up in Stratford, Conn. She was the oldest of four children in a big, extended family that included many public workers and first responders. Her cousin said that she loved going to the beach and was active in her church.

“Vicki was a great individual with a huge heart and put students first. Unfortunately, that is how she lost her life,” Mr. Wiltsie said. “I wanted people to know that she was a hero for what she did, and that she gets the recognition that she deserves.”

Her life was filled with family and children. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a teacher. She had worked at Sandy Hook Elementary School for five years—three as a first-grade teacher and two as an intern—and was pursuing her master’s degree in special education at Southern Connecticut State University, according to her biography on the school’s website. She wrote that she graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University with a degree in elementary education and history.

“She was a very nurturing individual—big sister was her role,” Mr. Wiltsie said. “Instinctively as a teacher, all she wanted to do was protect those kids, and that is what she was trying to do.”

RIP Sandy Hook Elementary victims‘s photo
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