Stratford High School is filled with sadness as friends and family mourn the loss of Victoria Soto, who is the 27-year-old teacher who died while trying to shield her students from the bullets during the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Soto graduated from Stratford High School in 2003 and Saturday night those who loved her returned to her alma mater.
"We lost a very special person," said Jessica Zrallack, who was a high school classmate of Soto.
According to reports, 20-year-old Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday morning where he shot and killed 20 children and six adults. Police said Soto, who was a first-grade teacher, hid her students inside closets and cabinets and used her own body to try and block the bullets.
"When you're in high school, you always talk about what you want to be when you get older and she wanted to be a teacher. She made it happen," Zrallack said. "And it's a success story on that part. She made her dream come true. But, she paid a price for it."
Zrallack created a sign for the vigil and it read "when none of it made any sense and just as I was about to lose faith God whispered heaven needed a hero."
"She's a hero of our time. She made the ultimate sacrifice for the youth," said Ken Zrallack Jr. of Stratford. "That's what a teacher is."
Tributes to the teacher were spread throughout town while friends, residents and school employees remembered her sacrifice.
"I work in a preschool. I can't imagine what was going through her head. It's amazing," said Nicole Jackson, who is a friend of Soto's aunt. "She just truly is a hero. I don't think it's good enough of a word to define exactly what she is."
Soto, who turned 27 last month, had a double degree from Eastern Connecticut State University and was in the process of getting a master's degree at Southern Connecticut State University. She is survived by her parents and three brothers and sisters.
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