When horror happened around them at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last December, teachers took on the role of heroes, working to keep their students calm and safe.
One of those teachers, Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis, has been recognized as one of Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year for 2013.
Last December, as shots rang out in the school, Roig-DeBellis moved her 15 students into the bathroom, blocked the door and assured them that everything would be OK, even though it was hard for her to believe herself.
She also ensured that something positive came out of something terrible and created the charity Classes 4 Classes, a non-profit meant to connect children and foster living with love, kindness, empathy and compassion.
“Twenty young children and six brave adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, but in the middle of this horrific act, a miracle happened. Fifteen first graders survived and are alive today because of the courage, love and devotion of one teacher, Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis,” Arianna Huffington said during the event.
“I have lived my life so as not to let that day define myself or my students,” Roig-DeBellis said. “This award is an honor of the 26 angels who I know are looking down on us right now, she said through her tears. “This is for them.”
Former First Lady Laura Bush also made a statement about Roig-DeBellis for the magazine.
“Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis is a Woman of the Year because... ‘No teacher expects to have to rescue her students from a deadly attack. But Kaitlin's quick thinking at Sandy Hook saved 15 lives’," Bush wrote.