Published January 15, 2013
A proposal to name a Connecticut elementary school after heroic Sandy Hook teacher Victoria Soto received unanimous approval Monday night.
Officials in Stratford, Conn., a city near Newtown, approved the mayor’s proposal to name a new building at HoneySpot Elementary School after the 27-year-old teacher who died trying to shield her students during a bloody rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Announced earlier this month by Stratford mayor John Harkins, the proposed name change was seen as a touching memorial by everyone in the tight-knit community, including Soto’s family.
Town council member John Dempsey told Fox News Latino the decision to rename the school was a “no brainer.”
"I'm very proud of the council's decision," Dempsey said, adding that they have received a lot of support from the community.
“My phone has been going off the hook.”
The resolution 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,” the resolution said.
Soto’s sister, Jillian, attended the meeting to show her support for the resolution.
“I'm happy to know that the town was able to come together and pass this, and I'm honored to know that my sister's [memory is] alive and she will never be forgotten," Jillian Soto said during the meeting, according to the Hartford Courant.
Soto’s cousin, Jim Wiltsie, also was proud of having a school named after his cousin.
"Her entire life revolved around being an educator," he said. "And now she has a school named after her, so that's great."
Twenty six people, including 20 children, were killed when Adam Lanza blasted his way into Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 14. As the bullets flew toward her first-grade students, who she had huddled in a corner for protection, Soto flung herself in front the barrage to save them. She paid for her bravery and courage with her life.
The mayor of Stratford, where Soto grew up, was so moved by Soto's actions that he also plans to build a memorial to the Puerto Rican teacher. Another petition has also been proposed to rename North Parade Way, which runs in front of Stratford High School, to Victoria Soto Way.
"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..." the mayor told Fox News Latino over email. "She gave her life protecting children, and we must make sure her sacrifice is never forgotten."