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Victoria Soto Petition Tops 6,000 Names

An online petition to rename a road in Stratford after the fallen Newtown teacher from Stratford is gaining momentum.

An online petition to the Stratford Town Council requesting to rename a town road after fallen Newtown teacher Victoria "Vicki" Soto had garnered more than 6,000 signatures as of late Tuesday.

The petition, posted on Change.org by Chris Barbee, seeks to rename North Parade Street -- the road that runs in front of Soto's alma mater Stratford High School -- to Victoria Soto Way.

Soto died protecting her first-grade students during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14 that claimed the lives of 20 young children and five other adults.

Soto sacrificed her life shielding her students from the gunman and her story of courage and selflessness has traveled the world over. Looking at where some of the petition signees hail from, it's clear Soto has touched many lives.

Canadian Arden Ouellette writes: "To honor a young educator who gave her life in an attempt to save her students. Incredible and so well deserved to be memorialized in this manner."

Frances Martin, of Switzerland, explains her reason for signing: "Victoria Soto was a HERO. She deserves to be remembered."

And then there is the local support of Stratfordites.

"I am a graduate of SHS, class of 1971, and would be honored to have the name changed to Victoria Soto Way," writes Linda Brown. "Please consider this!!"

Stratford resident Carol DeVitto writes: "I think this is a wonderful way to honor Vicki. We should also think about naming a room in Stratford High after her. Vicki is a well needed role model for Stratford's children and youth. If we ever build a new school it should be named after Vicki."

Speaking at her sister's funeral, Jillian Soto acknowledged the worldwide outpouring of support for "Vicki," as those who knew her best called her.

"You are in so many people's hearts," she said. "For the 19 children you protected you were an angel [and] you've been my hero my entire life. I'm so proud of you and all you did in your 27 years.”

The next scheduled meeting of the Stratford Town Council is Monday, Jan. 14.

Baffled Resident January 06, 2013 at 08:08 PM
I'm sorry for your loss. I'm also sorry that threads regarding Vicki are being derailed by that poster. Please know that many of us have signed the petition.
carlos soto January 06, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Thank you
Semi Happy Resident January 06, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Carrie, my last paragraph was not indicating that only my comments could be considered hurtful to the family but both sides were hurtful. Name calling does not respect anyone alive or dead nor does it stay on the subject. The other posters said to ignore me since I didn't use my full name and if they don't use theirs then they can't complain about me not using mine. I am sorry that Vicki's mother has chosen to read these postings and have made an exception for her comments since she is grieving for her daughter.
Chris Barbee January 06, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Very well put Mr. Pedoto. Thank you for your support.
Chris Barbee January 06, 2013 at 10:53 PM
the truth is, no signatures are required. It only takes a vote from the town council. I just thought the idea would be more significant w/ x number of people also showing support.
Chris Barbee January 06, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Donna S is no more a 'fake name' than 'Barbara' is. and the 'S' stands for Soto...
Bill O'Brien January 06, 2013 at 11:30 PM
Although renaming North Parade in honor and memory of Vicki is a nice idea, I prefer the proposal that Mayor Harkins favors. A new Honeyspot School will be built soon on the east side of Stratford Academy. Naming it the Victoria Soto Elementary School, with a statue of Vicki surrounded by children at the entrance, would be a truly lasting and inspirational tribute to Vicki and all the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy. I plan to create a petition on change.org in favor of this great tribute to a heroic educator.
Donna S January 06, 2013 at 11:40 PM
Barbara who doesn't use her last name, My name is Donna Fagan Soto very very very Proud mother of Victoria Leigh Soto. People that say she was not a Stratford resident are ignorant but if you want to think it is you that's fine with me. Not defending my daughter would be completely our of character to me, anyone that knows me knows how proud of my children I am. I should not even give you the satisfaction of a comment but I need to channel my anger at that sick crazy person that took the lives of 26 amazing people somewhere, so here it is.
Semi Happy Resident January 07, 2013 at 12:17 AM
Bill, I agree with you and like that idea much better than the street renaming. That is more befitting a hero and something that everyone will see and remember over time.
Chris Barbee January 07, 2013 at 01:07 AM
While we intend to move forward as planned with our petition, without aggression or confrontation, I will support anything that permanently pays tribute to our home-town hero so long as Donna and her family stand behind it.
James D January 07, 2013 at 01:54 AM
I am a little confused... Barbara, one of your original objections to the Street name change was the money it would cost to produce new letterhead and create a few new signs, yet you are in favor of building a new school. Any idea how much that costs? If I am not mistaken, aren't there a few vacant schools in town and another the they is trying to sell? I am a life-long resident of Stratford and know how long certain things take. While I think both ideas are fantastic ones, I fear we could all be dead and gone before the first shovel is in the ground for a new school.
Semi Happy Resident January 07, 2013 at 02:43 AM
James, yes one of my original objections was the cost but not due to the amount it would cost but I felt the money would not be effective in a street name change that a good portion of the population would forget about over time. If the intention is to have her remembered then it would be better to possibly pay for a statue and/or plaque that everyone could read and remember and something more befitting a hero. As far as the new school goes, that is what was mentioned in Bill's comment, not mine, so you can discuss those issues with him. If there are other schools that are better located for the population that needs a school then I am OK with using a pre-existing building to save on costs as long as the school is not so far away that the taxpayers need to pay for buses to get the children there. To set the record straight I have always been in favor of something to remember Ms. Soto, such as the scholarships that the family and SHS are doing. I even mentioned having her name and information put into the Stratford Historical Society as part of our town's history. They can even do a very tasteful display with pictures of her life so others can see what a good person she was. Her death was sensless and her helping the children away from the shooter was heroic. The only thing I was against was the street name change.
Semi Happy Resident January 07, 2013 at 02:51 AM
Donna Soto, please accept my sympathy as you go through this time trying to make sense of something that can probably never make sense. I never knew your daughter since I graduated from SHS in 1970 but from what I have read and seen on TV she was a great daughter and teacher that never should have been put in that position. When you think of her know that she did what she felt was right in trying to save the children. Who knows how many of us can say we could or would do the same thing if put in that situation. She deserves to always be remembered as a hero since she truly is one.
Billy Noonan January 07, 2013 at 04:22 AM
I look at it this way...there are a few of us that are taking it upon ourselves to HONOR Victoria Soto and have the street name changed in her HONOR but also for the Soto family to show that us life long residents of Stratford will never forget her brave and heroic acts on that tragic day 12-14-12,and to the entire Soto family I wanna apologize for everything u are having to deal with and have dealt with during ur very tough times. I also will stand behind and support any decision that the mayor and town council make on the 14th because again no matter how u look at it the decision will HONOR our hometown HERO. Now have some respect for Donna Soto and the rest of her family because how would some of u like it if u have to deal with what herself and her family are dealing with and on top of all that deal with ppl on the internet or any other way...Mrs Soto I commend u and ur family during these tough times for dealing with all that u have and I wish I could help u out in someway to take some of the pain away.
Gordon Hughes January 07, 2013 at 09:23 AM
Gordon Hughes. Bill I live over 3,000 miles away in the United Kingdom but have signed the petition to honour Victoria Soto, simply because she is a hero for what she did. A street sign is a good idea in the short term but have been thinking along with you, mine was to rename the Stratford Academy where she was a student, but yours is such a good idea as she was an Elementary teacher. To Dona S, you have the right to reply to the people who say its wrong, I want you to know that I and many many thousands of people from this side of the Atlantic are praying for you and your family, and will keep the name of Victoria in our hearts for ever.
Donna S January 07, 2013 at 04:47 PM
Your sympathy is a little too late. I take offense to every post you put up. Just think how you would feel in my place, I hope if you have children you would defend tham as I feel I have to defend mine. I am sorry that you graduated from SHS because 99 percent of the people from SHS want this to happen. There is no reason to even speak to you since you are insignificant to me and my family.
Donna S January 07, 2013 at 04:48 PM
Thank you Billy.
Craig Budnick January 07, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Donna, I am one of the members of the Stratford Town Council who would be responsible for voting on the name change to honor your daughter. I would welcome an opportunity to discuss this with your family. Please contact me at my town email address. Thank you and God Bless, Craig Budnick 7th District Stratford Town Council cbudnick@townofstratford.com
Concerned January 07, 2013 at 07:53 PM
I am grateful Mr. Budnick that you are taking into consideration what the family of Ms. Soto would want. I understand they didn't start the petition, but I applaud you so much for getting that there is a grieving family in Stratford. There is always a Barbara at every town meeting and community board, sticking their nose into every issue they know little about, in such a mean, nasty, and bitter way while acting super sensitive and victimized themselves, turning every issue about their ideas. Thank you Mr. Budnick for appropriately addressing the family. I am so deeply sorry to the Soto family for having to deal with Barbara here. You do not deserve this hurt or pain.
Jennifer Francis January 07, 2013 at 08:46 PM
I am baffled why this thread has become what it has.. Chris this is a fantastic thing you started. I understand that not all the signatures are from stratford, but I am positive if We had to get 6000 stratford signature that we could!, I would walk, blog or do anything needed to get that done! This beautiful young lady Vicki is a hero and gods angel and should be honored in as many ways as we can create to keep her memory and cause alive. Stationary?? Street signs ?? Costs maybe $5k tops!! Please that shouldn't even be in the equation. What's the cost of that?? Compared to what Victoria had given ! I know I will remind my children, grandchildren and so on who Vicki was she will NEVER be forgotten in our household. Life is precious and we are not guarnteed time here so let's pull together as a family of stratford residents and make Vicki proud!
Joanne B. January 07, 2013 at 11:35 PM
I like the idea of a permanent memorial for Vicky. I do feel that it's disingenuous to allow other out-of-towners to dictate to our council. I would rather see the town formulate and see through their own memorial plans. It's seems that the mayor has some other ideas regarding the honeyspot school, and I feel that this would be a more appropriate memorial than changing the name of the street, which Barbara is right, it would cost us tax payers, and a few thousand dollars is significant when we think about all the money this town bonds for. I am confident that the town will find a way on their own to pay tribute to Vicky and the amazing person she was.
Joanne B. January 08, 2013 at 01:29 AM
How many stratford residents have signed this petition? Maybe this is information the council should have before they vote.
J. Sexton January 08, 2013 at 09:01 AM
Well Carlos, you are victoria's sister huh. I thought Carlos was her father and brothers name. Did you forget your own name?
J. Sexton January 08, 2013 at 09:07 AM
Babara, don't take this gang mentality to harsh. To think that you're being insulted by grieving family members because you *GOSH* have a different opinion on something in your town. I think its despicable behavior by "friends" and "family" of vicki choosing to spew this hatred at someone offering sympathy and an alternative opinion.
Donna S January 08, 2013 at 12:55 PM
We are a grieving family and if God forbid anyone ever have to deal with the pain Vicki's family is dealing with I would forgive them for what ever they have to say because at the end of the day we are in pain and may say things that are hurtful especially when the comment "no one will ever remember this woman" comes up. Had I or any family member been in their right mind they never would have even responded. None of this is important to her family the only thing that is important that we honor this HERO as she should be honored. J. Sexton you are correct thank you for pointing that out.
Semi Happy Resident January 08, 2013 at 02:51 PM
J. Sexton, I figured that out when I learned who was responding & also after one person went after me about a new school being built & I wasn't even the one that brought it up. It is also why I stopped putting any comments in because they are not thinking straight in what they were reading or how they responded. I felt it was going off subject in a tit for tat type of response & I assume it is not how Vicki would have liked the coinversation to go. I was also not saying that her name would be forgotten over time to be hurtful but to do something in her memory where people would remember. I have my own business along with a website. I have taken classes to promote the website & unfortunantly studies that have been done, prove that the general public has a very short attention span. If they can't find the info they want in 1 - 2 clicks they move on to another website. If the traffic light stays red for a little longer than normal, they drive through it. I just can't see going through a street name change that people other than the friends & family will remember over time. A commentor even stated they can look up the name on the internet. If the public won't stay for a traffic light to change what makes anyone think they will take the time to look up a street name, why it was called that as well as the history around it? The statue at the new school, I feel, is much more fitting a hero & that is something that will live on forever in people's memories.
J. Sexton January 08, 2013 at 11:12 PM
No offense, but why is Vicki's mother writing in the third person, and why is Vicki's brother Carlos referring to himself as her sister. There is ZERO proof these people are family members and their vicious insults only further that instinct.
Chris Barbee January 09, 2013 at 12:03 AM
I am the one who created this petition. Donna S is in fact Vicky's mother and her sister was probably using a different sign-in name. These are things you're going to just have to take my word on.
Chris Barbee January 09, 2013 at 12:13 AM
This is not just a news story. A young woman lost her life and saved many children by doing so. This is America and each one of us is entitled to our own opinions, which is why me and some friends of mine decided to start this petition. I think because things can get lost in translation thru the internet, this thread has taken a turn that I am sure none of us intended it to. So out of respect to the Soto family, I plea to each and every one of you to be a decent human being and please make this the last comment on this thread. Again, this is America and you have the right to ignore my plea- and if you still find that you need to continue this discussion, look me up on facebook and I will gladly entertain anything you have to say. Thank you and my condolences are with the Soto family, and I am sure all of us feel the same.
Chris Barbee January 09, 2013 at 04:55 AM
Joannne, they definitely will have that information.

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