Sandy Hook survivor spreads message of hope

Sandy Hook survivor spreads message of hope

Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis delivers her message of hope and empowerment during an event at the First Congregational Church in Bristol Friday evening.

Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis considers herself to be very lucky.

“‘Hero’ is a term I don’t accept for myself,” Ms. Roig-DeBellis said during her weekend-long visit to the community.

Having endured one of the worst tragedies the world has ever seen, the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting survivor takes nothing for granted. The heroic teacher is credited with saving the lives of all 15 of her students by acting quickly upon hearing the sounds of gunfire and locking them all in a small bathroom until the “good guys” came to let her know that it was over and they were now safe.

As a response to the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., Ms. Roig-DeBellis founded the non-profit Classes 4 Classes, Inc., realizing that positive social change was needed, and that it should begin with the youngest members of our society, K-5 students.

Ms. Roig-DeBellis was welcomed to the community at a reception last week honoring local teachers, after which she delivered an hour-long presentation that encompassed her experience during the the Newtown shooting as well as her response, whish is a message of hope and empowerment.

“You all have the power to create change, but you have to do it,” she implored the crowd of hundreds gathered at the First Congregational Church in Bristol. “Be the change!”

The Friday evening event was a collaborative effort between the Bristol Warren Education Foundation, Bristol Warren Education Association and the Bristol Warren Regional School District.