Thursday morning was a bitter sweet morning in Stratford as 280 elementary school students headed to school for their first day at a brand new school.
The Victoria Soto School was built in honor of the first grade teacher who gave her life protecting her students at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
"I think she's up there right now in heaven, looking down with all her angels saying ‘wow, it's so beautiful,’" said Carlos Soto, Victoria Soto’s father.
Her family said Victoria Soto grew up in Stratford along with her three siblings. All of them went to Stratford schools.
The new pre-k through second grade magnet school bears her name.
"I think that's perfect,” said Janet Robinson, Startford schools. “I think this building is a symbol of the goodness that needs to come out of such a horrible tragedy."
Victoria Soto was gunned down along with five other educators and 20 students at the Newtown school in Dec. 2012.
Her family said while her memory lives on in their hearts, Victoria Soto’s passion and love for children will also live on for generations.
“That was Vicki's love, Sandy Hook,” said Jillian Soto, Victoria Soto’s sister. “Now, this school is the same way. It's in her hometown. It's by her house. We always get to come by and see it and be a part of this journey."
Children who entered the school on Thursday were greeted by a mural that had a simple but powerful message.
"There was a Stratford girl, who had a dream and she made it work and the dream was such that she would do anything to protect her kids,” Robinson read.
The school is fitted with several safety measures like bullet-proof glass, security doors and a full view of the front entrance from the main office.
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