Ten Years Later: The Heroes of Sandy Hook

By Christina Lorey

December 14, 2022

“Look for the helpers; there are always people helping.” -Mister Rogers

Helpers, heroes, whatever you call them– there were many inside Newton, Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School that terrifying day ten years ago.

Some are no longer alive. Others are still anonymous. But all risked– and sometimes gave— their lives to save many more.

Principal Dawn Hochsprung told her colleagues to hide as she ran into the hall and charged the gunman in an attempt to stop him. The 47-year-old was killed in the process.

First Grade Teacher Victoria Soto was hiding her students in closets and cabinets when the gunman entered her classroom. She told him her students were in the gym. When several ran from their hiding places, she used her body in an attempt to shield them. The 27-year-old was shot & killed. 11 of her students survived.

First-grader Jesse Lewis shouted for his classmates to run while the gunman paused to reload after shooting his teacher. The 6-year-old was shot in the head & killed. Nearly two dozen of his classmates ran to safety.

An unidentified staff member turned on the loudspeakers in the main office when the gunshots started to alert the rest of the school.

An unidentified custodian went classroom-to-classroom, warning staff and students to hide. 

Music teacher Maryrose Kristopik sheltered 20 students in closets and used instruments, like xylophones, to barricade the doors. She reportedly held one of the door handles as the gunman was trying to enter. Everyone survived.

First grade teacher Kaitlin Roig comforted her students by telling them she loved them in case those were the last words they ever heard, as she barricaded them in a cramped single bathroom. Everyone survived.

In all, 20 first-graders (12 girls, 8 boys) and 6 teachers were shot and killed by the Sandy Hook gunman. Click here to read about and remember each of them.


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