A Newtown teacher who saved the lives of her students during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting will soon be releasing a new book that seeks to find hope in the midst of horrible tragedy. Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis has already founded the nonprofit Classes 4 Classes, which teaches students that their lives are connected.
"Choosing Hope: Moving Forward from Your Life's Darkest Hour" will be released in the spring of 2015, publisher G.P. Putnam's Sons announced. The book is "a poignant account of personal triumph over unbearable tragedy," the publishers also revealed.
Roig-DeBellis managed to get 15 first-graders into a bathroom when she heard gunfire in the school where she taught. Not only did she save their lives, she saved her own. The gunman killed himself, but not before killing his mother, six teachers, and 20 students. It was called one of the worst mass shootings in the country, but Roig-DeBellis has chosen to share her own personal story and discuss the way that she chose to find hope in the midst of so much loss.
"I didn't want this to define me or my kids," Roig-DeBellis told Glamour magazine. "The kids were so happy with their gifts, but I wanted to teach them that you have to give back too," she said, explaining why she founded Classes 4 Classes. "When you teach kindness, love, and empathy, there is no room for hate."
During the shooting, Roig-DeBellis led her students in prayer as they hid in the bathroom. She explained that there were "bad guys" outside and they had to wait for the "good guys" to arrive and help them.
"We started to pray and we started to imagine the very best, and the shooting continued," Roig-DeBellis told the Stamford Advocate. "My purpose has always been to help children. Always know your purpose so you can be the change."
Roig-DeBellis continues to spread her message of hope and wants everyone to work together to create a better world for current and future youth.