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A Hero in Connecticut

A Hero in Connecticut

Where did a first grade teacher get the strength to perform her extraordinary act of bravery?


When a crazed gunman opened fire inside a Connecticut elementary school – murdering 26 children and adults – first grade teacher Vicki Soto responded with an astonishingly selfless act.

Upon hearing the first rounds of gunfire in an adjacent classroom, the 27-year-old teacher went into lockdown mode, quickly ushering her students into a closet. Then suddenly, as she came face to face with the gunman and the bullets flew, she used her body to shield the children.

Vicki Soto was found dead, huddled over her students, protecting them.

We all mourn this unspeakable tragedy.

Yet where did this young woman get the strength and conviction to perform such an extraordinary act of bravery?

In the animal world, this devotion is found to some degree as a motherly instinct. The bear will fiercely protect her cubs, just as a mother is intensely devoted to her children. But how far does it go? Can it even override the most basic instinct for self-preservation?

A parent’s greatest wish is for her children to grow, to see them flourish – physically, emotionally and spiritually. With determination and focus, a parent can attain a level of absolute devotion – even at the expense of her own welfare.

What makes Vicki Soto’s actions so remarkable is how she developed that same degree of self-sacrifice for children not biologically her own.

She lived with the reality of a profound truth: A teacher is like a parent, charged with nurturing a child’s growth, helping to transform their physical lives into something greater.

"Vicki's life dream was to be a teacher. It's what she loved to do," said her cousin, James Wiltsie. This young woman was willing to give up her entire worldly existence, for the higher meaning of caring for these children.

Related Article: The Connecticut School Shooting

Lifelong Legacy

Deep down, we all want to accomplish great things. We all want to give generously and truly care for others. We all want to use our potential.

A friend recently told me that he’s been thinking about his “legacy.” Now in his mid-50s, he is haunted by one overriding question that he cannot ignore: How will I truly impact this world?

I told him to sit down and figure out what he’s willing to die for. Maybe even read some obituaries, to give perspective on the greater meaning of life.

I told him: Once you’ve found a cause so meaningful that you’d forfeit your life for, that leads to the more important and obvious corollary: If you are willing to die for something, then that is the highest goal for how you should be living.

There is something deep in the psyche of every human being: Being good is so important that we're even willing to die for it. Yet we too often fall short of these higher objectives – because we get distracted.

Vicki Soto understood that when you live with full focus and devotion, you attain unparalleled power.

The great tragedy is that this remarkable young woman had so much more to give.

Let us ensure that her death is not in vain.

Let’s make a plan to discover our ultimate pur­pose and then implement it into day-to-day life. Let’s take it one step at a time, so not to become overwhelmed. Let’s keep our eye on the ball and not get distracted.

Vicki Soto’s great act of devotion should inspire us to take 10 minutes today and ponder: "What am I living for?"

Finding the answer is a big project. But there’s no better use of our time and energy. Because if we don’t know what higher purpose we’re pursuing, then we’re living like zombies, just going through the motions.

Vicki Soto was up to the challenge. "She didn't call them her students," her sister Carlee told NBC. "She called them her kids. She loved those students more than anything."

She loved her students so much that she referred to them as her "little angels." In reaching the ultimate level of devotion and saving their lives, Vicki Soto reached beyond the angels.

December 16, 2012

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 48

(34) William, January 1, 2013 10:41 PM

why guns?

Why ban only military-style guns/weapons? Why stop there? For God's love, haven't you had enough of this irresponsible, mindless violence in your great country over the past 15-, or so, years? Second Ammendment? We all know that it has been misinterpreted, in big way! If you think that you need gun/s at home, what does it say about the society you live in? What is happening to the, once Great, US of A? Are the American people willing to fulfill the prophecy of one, current civilization to disapear?? Like the Roman, Greek, Persian and many other civilizations disapeared in the past? What sort of country are you leaving for your gradchildren and further, future generations? Put armed guards in every school? Who came up with this idiotic notion? Ah, yes, the NRA. Why not give a gun to every school kid so he can protect him/herself. Is that the plan? Can you see the result? I can: every bully in the will be blown away! "He was bullying me, so I shot him!", will be the answer and, as always, the NRA will not be in sight! No more bullies but more heartache for families! Is that what you want for your great nation? WAKE UP AMERICA, before it's too late!

(33) Robert MacPherson, December 20, 2012 7:12 PM

Guns do NOT kill anyone

It is not the GUN, it is the one who uses it, for good or bad, I always had guns while growing up in the country, and at a very early age I learned that I was RESPONCIBLE for that gun, and taught myself HOW TO USE IT, so, talking the pros and making sugestions about WHO should have GUNS, lets put any school where it should be, teaching children the RIGHT way to LIVE, and that includes any subject that the teacher deams correct.

(32) Shiney, December 19, 2012 2:10 AM


Vicky's courage is one of the greatest things we as humans can possess. She was such a loving soul and so young...I pray for her family and for others , especially her students that they will see one person truly can make a difference in another person's life....Vicky, thankyou for being such a devoted, kind teacher who sacrificed so much for your passion.

Robert MacPherson, December 20, 2012 7:05 PM

Vicky's corage is nothing but absolute hero

What would our actions be when faced with what Vick faced, I really do not know what I would have done, I really have no idea. BUT I wish that I would do the same as she. Robert

(31) Shira Paz, December 17, 2012 8:49 PM

When I read about the love and total devotion of a beautiful person like Vicky who gave her life for the sake of saving others, ordinary people who do extra ordinary things it leaves me totally humble and inspired, I salute her heroism, the highest honor to those who save their fellowman and sacrifice their own life. May her memory live on!

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