A Kind of Dreaming

I wore green and white to school today, for the students and faculty of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT.

Like so many others, I’ve been struggling to process last Friday’s horrific shooting: I’ve refreshed the Lede blog on the New York Times website countless times, read opinion piece after opinion piece on gun control, and tried to articulate my own point of view as a teacher and education writer.

As storytelling animals, we immediately grasp for “Why?” — especially when it can’t be understood.

For now, I’d like to remember the story before the story, about the people who served their school with pride and selflessness well before the world was watching.

As Tim O’Brien writes in The Things They Carried, “…in a story, which is a kind of dreaming, the dead sometimes smile and sit up and return to the world.”

Victoria Soto, 27, taught first grade at the school for five years. She lived with her mother, brother, and sisters in Stratford, CT. She loved teaching and her pet labrador, Roxie. She was studying for a Master’s degree in Special Education.

Lauren Rousseau, 30, was a permanent substitute teacher at Sandy Hook. “Lauren wanted to be a teacher even before she went to kindergarten,” her mother said. Besides teaching, Lauren enjoyed music, dance, and theater. She made cupcakes in celebration of the new “Hobbit” movie, and had been planning to see the film with her boyfriend on Friday night.

Dawn Hochsprung, 47, was the principal of the school for two years. She often shared school-related Twitter updates on everything from band concerts to professional development workshops. Sometimes, she dressed up as the Sandy Hook Book Fairy. Dawn met her husband George while she was an assistant principal and he was a seventh-grade math teacher. She had two daughters, three stepdaughters, and 11 grandchildren.

Mary Scherlach, a 56-year-old school psychologist, was preparing to retire after 18 years at Sandy Hook. She was married for 31 years, and was the mother to two daughters in their 20s. Her hobbies included gardening, reading, and theater.

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