IIn her third year teaching at Sandy Hook Elementary School, "Vicki" Soto tried to get her students to hide in a closet when the gunman came to her room, her family was told by authorities. "In our eyes, she's a hero," her cousin Jim Wiltsie told ABC Newsn her third year teaching at Sandy Hook Elementary School, "Vicki" Soto tried to get her students to hide in a closet when the gunman came to her room, her family was told by authorities. "In our eyes, she's a hero," her cousin Jim Wiltsie told ABC News
The poster Maleeha Ali made said it all. "Miss Vicki Soto - 1st Grade" was colorfully written above a picture of the teacher who died protecting her first-grade students Friday.
Ali, now a third-grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School, held up the sign that her family helped make her Saturday afternoon. "Best Teacher" was written vertically up and down both sides. In the middle, in big blue letters: "Our Hero."
Ali had Miss Victoria "Vicki" Soto when she was in first grade at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She liked walking by Miss Soto's classroom and seeing her former teacher.
Soto was in her third year teaching first grade at Sandy Hook, according to her profile on myschooldesk.net.
Her profiles reads, "I look forward to an amazing year in first grade with my amazing students of room 10!"
"Her life dream was to be a teacher and her instincts kicked in when she saw there was coming coming towards her student," Soto's cousin, Jim Wiltsie, told ABC News.
He said that the family was told Soto attempted to get her class into a closet when the gunman entered her classroom.
"In our eyes, she's a hero," Wiltsie told ABC News.
Facebook groups began appearing that grew in the hundreds throughout Saturday. "R.I.P Victoria Soto" went from just a few hundred photos in the morning to nearly 3,000 by late afternoon.
According to Miss Soto's teacher profile, she had been at Sandy Hook for five years, the first two years as an intern where she was a long-term substitute teacher for two second-grade classrooms and one third-grade classroom.
She graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University with degrees in Elementary Education and History and currently pursuing a master's degree in Special Education at Southern Connecticut State University, according to her profile.
The picture above her profile shows her holding her black lab Roxie as she stands on her hind legs.
"In my free time, I love to spend time with [my] black lab Roxie," Soto's profile reads.