President Obama honors Newtown, Conn., educator heroes

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The six educators who lost their lives protecting their students at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December were posthumously awarded Presidential Citizens Medals yesterday at a White House ceremony.

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Twenty children, ages 5 through 10, also lost their lives in what is the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

President Barack Obama, who presented the awards to the educators’ families, said:

When Dawn Hochsprung, and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel D’Avino, Anne Marie Murphy— when they showed up for work at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14th of last year, they expected a day like any other — doing what was right for their kids; spent a chilly morning readying classrooms and welcoming young students — they had no idea that evil was about to strike. And when it did, they could have taken shelter by themselves. They could have focused on their own safety, on their own well-being. But they didn’t. They gave their lives to protect the precious children in their care. They gave all they had for the most innocent and helpless among us. . .

The Presidential Citizens Medal is awarded to [the Sandy Hook educators] for dedicating themselves to their students and to the community of Newtown, Connecticut. Some had been at Sandy Hook Elementary School for only weeks; others were preparing to retire after decades of service. All worked long past the school bell to give the children in their care a future worth their talents. On December 14, 2012, unthinkable tragedy swept through Newtown, etching the names of these six courageous women into the heart of our nation forever. The United States honors Rachel D’Avino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, and Victoria Soto for their extraordinary commitment to the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School.


Editorial Note: The Connecticut Education Association has established the Sandy Hook Memorial and Scholarship Fund to collect donations for a scholarship fund at the University of Connecticut to support the college costs for any siblings of the children killed in the assault, the dependents of the educators who lost their lives, as well as students currently at the elementary school who go on to enroll at the university.

Reader Comments

  1. Please do not forget those on the Sandy Hook faculty and Staff who survive. These valient men and women have lost six loved colleagues and helped the children in their care deal with an unexplainable and violent attack on everyones sense of security. They deserve recognition and, at the least, acknowlegement of their professionalism and deep caring.

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