Heroic teacher, students laid to rest

2:20 PM, Dec 19, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Funerals Continue as Schools in Newton Reopen

Victoria Soto, 27, first grade teacher

NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Victoria Soto, the young teacher who died saving her students at Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday, was laid to rest Wednesday morning. 

Investigators told Soto's family that she hid her students before gunman Adam Lanza arrived at her classroom then told him they were in another building before he shot her.

PHOTOS | Remembering Sandy Hook victims

Back-to-back funerals were held Tuesday at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Newtown for first-graders James Mattioli and Jessica Rekos. They were the first of eight to be held in the coming days at the church.

James was said to have loved recess and math and was described by his family as a "numbers guy" who couldn't wait until he was old enough to order a foot-long Subway sandwich.

Traffic in front of the church slowed to a crawl as police directed vehicles into the church parking lot. At one point, a school bus carrying elementary students got stuck in traffic -- the children pressing their faces into the windows, sadly watching at the mourners assembled.

The first service had not yet concluded when mourners began arriving for the funeral of Jessica. She loved horses and was counting the years until she turned 10, when her family had promised her a horse of her own. 

UConn sets up scholarship for Sandy Hook students

The University of Connecticut is creating a scholarship fund for students from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, where 20 students and six staff members were gunned down last week.

The Sandy Hook School Memorial Scholarship Fund will help pay college costs for Sandy Hook students who choose to attend UConn when they're older. Siblings of the student victims and children of the adult victims also will be eligible. The awards will be need-based.

Donations will be collected through the University of Connecticut Foundation. A spokesman says the foundation hasn't set a fundraising goal and will wait to see how many donations come in over the coming years before deciding whether the scholarships can cover the students' entire college costs.

UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma and his wife have donated $80,000.

The university says 650 other individual donations have been received in the fund's first 24 hours.

Students to attend school in another town 

The Connecticut students who survived a mass shooting at their school will return to class after the winter break at a school in a neighboring town.

The Connecticut Post reported Tuesday the school's other students will attend Chalk Hill School in Monroe.

Chalk Hill hasn't been used as a school since June 2011. Volunteers and town officials have been making it suitable for elementary school students.

Monroe Superintendent of Schools James Agostine's office says the school will reopen after Jan. 1 but a date hasn't been set. Newtown scAhool officials will decide.

Monroe police Lt. Brian McCauley says authorities are trying to make sure the school is safe for when Newtown officials send teachers and students there.


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