In December 2012, an armed madman attacked the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, killing six teachers and twenty young children. Just feet from the man Kaitlin Roig jammed her class of fifteen students and herself into a tiny toilet saving their lives. This is her story; a story of despair and tragedy; but more importantly, hope.
On that fatal day, a day which sent shockwaves around the world and once and yet again, calls to the American people to change their gun laws, echoing around the world, started out like so many others before.
Kaitlin arrived at school early to prep for her first lesson of the day. The class was underway when the unthinkable happened. Gunshots and loud voices were heard from the corridor and the room next to hers. That was the end of normal as she and her class of five and six year olds knew it.
But how do you go about recovering and trying to put your life back together after such an horrific event; as Kaitlin says you can either choose to give in to the darkness, the despair and the horror, or you can set about choosing hope and a future, albeit one that was and will always be different .
With the love and support of her family and her husband she has emerged a person who is stronger, who is courageous in more ways than just the obvious and a person who discovered that by sharing her story, she was able to reach out to many who are facing the dark and often tragic days of their lives.
Marrying her beloved Nick on 16 August 2013 was a milestone in her recovery. As she says, ‘At that moment, (…..) I felt true happiness’. This was also the beginning of what was to come next in her life.
Realising she had the opportunity to reach out and help change lives she founded the not-for-profit ‘Classes 4Classes, a concept to teach students and teachers everywhere the importance of kindness and caring for others’.
This, then lead her onto her public speaking, as each time she addressed a group of people she found they were sharing their stories, their grieving and recovery. She also realised that by sharing her story, if it helped one other person through their darkest despair, then by choosing this way of reaching out, she was also choosing a healing pathway for both herself and the person she was touching.
In conclusion Kaitlin sums up life very succinctly when she says,
“Bad things can happen to all of us, things that test us and impact us and change us, but it is not those moments that define who we are. It is how we choose to react to them that does”.
“You can choose Hope”. “I choose hope”
|Author||Kaitlin Roig-Debellis with Robin Gaby Fisher|
|Publisher||Allen & Unwin|