Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary angels

As I was sitting in church on Christmas Eve, listening to a group of young children sing, "Away in a manger", my thoughts were going to the children who would not be able to be in church this Christmas Eve, with their families, singing..... they are in Heaven, singing in the presence of the Lord. It was a mixed feeling that I had at that moment. I know they are happy and no more pain, no tears, just plain joy, to be in His presence..... singing Happy Birthday to Jesus.... but tears for the families that were left behind when their loved ones were gunned down by that random act of evil several weeks ago. If you listen to the words of the song, "Bless all the dear children, In Thy tender care And take us to heaven, To live with Thee there" it is a story played out for those 26 children and teachers.. But it left me wanting to do something..... I picked up the magazine in Walmart of People, the best and worst of 2012... and there on the front cover were those faces... the faces of each child and the teachers that had been there, in the school on that horrible morning. Then it hit me, I would commit to drawing the faces of each child and teacher represented in that school that lost their life. And so it has begun.... I started with little Olivia Engel, 6 years old....She was a Daisy Scout who led nightly grace at the dinner table. She was cast as an angel in her church`s nativity play and was looking forward to it. She was always thoughtful, happy, always sent thank you notes for presents received.
My purpose in doing this is to put their faces out there so we will not forget. To tell a little bit about them so they are not just a name that we heard and forgot about. I have just begun, only 7 are done but it is my goal to get all 26 of them done in the next few weeks.... It gives me a bit of time as I am drawing and learning about them, to grieve again, for the life that they will not have, for the families they left behind, and for the evil, that took their lives on that morning in Sandy Hook.
Allison wyatt, 6 years old.... A first grader who covered the walls of her Sandy Hook home with drawings. She delighted in showing people how much she cared, surprising people with random acts of kindness. Allison liked to garden with her mother and was always outside in the summer She left behind a little sister, Lauren, who she loved to teach things to.
Daniel Barden, 7 years old.....His fearless pursuit of happiness and life, earned him perennially riped jeans and two missing front teeth. he was an energetic swimmer and soccer player, he also loved football, making s`mores and drumming in a family band with his older brother, James and sister, Natalie. He loved to arrive at the bus stop on his father`s shoulders. His mother said, "He was just so good."
Emilie Parker, 6 years old She was a passionate artist and always had her markers and pencils so that she could draw a picture or make a card for those around her. She left behind two younger sisters, 3 and 4. She loved daisies and any other pink flowers...Emilie was laid to rest in a favorite white dress with an American Girl doll at a gravesite next to her maternal grandfather, who died Sept. 29. Her two sisters, Madeline and Samantha, wore pink coats to the service, their older sister's favorite color The family lived in Ogden until Emilie was almost 3. Then they moved to Oregon, New Mexico and, eventually, Connecticut, where they bought a house and planned to settle down. At Thursday's service, family members remembered Emilie as a "picture of perfection," a girl full of love, compassion, charity and enthusiasm
Noah Pozner, 6 years old he loved to build things. He had just celebrated his 6th birthday on Nov. 20. He had a twin sister, Arielle, who was in a different class at Sandy Hook Elementary. he loved throwing water balloons and having pretend sword fights. He had a sister, Danielle, 18, brother, Michael, 17, and sister Sophia, 7. His family had just recently moved to Newtown from Brooklyn for the schools.
Dawn Hochsprung, 47 principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School. She ordered two teachers to hide in her office after hearing gunshots, then lunged at the shooter. She was the mom and stepmom to five girls and faced every problem head on. She had just entered a Ph.D. program. She led a school district's strategic planning panel. She won a national school grant. She could be "a tough lady in the right sort of sense," a friend said.
Lauren Rousseau, 30 years old As a girl, she used to pretend that her dolls were students. Last September when she got the full time substitue job at Sandy Hook, she was ecstatic. Lauren was a gentle, spirited, active young woman, had many plans. she loved music, dance and theater. Last Friday, Lauren and her boyfriend, Tony were looking forward to seeing the movie "The Hobbit'' then going to a party. Lauren had made cupcakes, with pictures of the actors in the movie attached to the top of each one. Her Dad said that she died doing what she loved. That is it for now, will add more as they are created.....
Thursday night... one more before bed time.... this is little Catherine Hubbard, 6 years old.... red hair and freckles...Had a love of all things cuddly, puppies, kittens and other furry creatures. ....Freddy, his parents say, was worried about the loss of his younger sister Catherine Violet, 6, who they say protected him as much as he protected her. He wondered who would be sure he got on the right bus, with Catherine gone.... Her red hair and freckles would light up the room when she walked in...
Dylan Hockley, 6 years old With his beautiful eyes and dimpled grin, Dylan won hearts instantly. Born in the U.K., he moved to Newtown in 2011 and adjusted to American life seamlessly, relishing afternoons on the trampoline with his older brother, Jake, 8.The special needs student possessed a laugh that was the sweetest music, say his parents.
Victoria Soto, 27 years old,1st grade teacher. She loved teaching reading, writing and math to her students. She loved her children.... her quick thinking saved some students` lives. She ushered kids away from danger and stood between them and the gunman, giving some of the children time to flee. Mourners who arrived at a church in Stratford, Conn., for Victoria Soto’s funeral were handed ribbons of green, her favorite color.
Grace McDonnell, 7 years old, Grace was a girly girl, her aunt recalled. She loved dresses, and she loved to dress in pink. She loved to cook with her Mother in the kitchen .The sanctuary of the church was decorated with seashells and art, passions of the 7-year-old who also loved light houses and the beach. She loved to dance, she took gymnastics, and was a “fashionista” with a love of sparkles and a passion for cupcakes
Mary Sherlach, 56 years old, A school psychologist, committed to helping kids, Mary was one year away from retirement. She was looking forward to spending more time with her husband, Bill, at their cabin in upstate New York. She wanted to help kids go on to be successful.
Madeleine Hsu, 6 years old, She was new to the neighborhood. She was a shy little girl who always had a smile on her face. She was described by her parents as sweet, unique, bright, sparkling and determined. She was a born leader.
Avielle Richman, 6 years old, She loved horseback riding and was on the verge of losing her first baby tooth. She showed her riding instructor her 'wiggly' tooth and was so excited. Her Dad wrote on his blog this fall, "our little hummingbird is starting first grade tomorrow." She was known to her family as Avie. She moved from San Diego to Connecticut with her family a couple of years ago and was still known by her parents as “their California girl.”
Chase Kowalski, 7 years old His Christmas wish was his two front teeth. He was a runner, finished his first triathlon at 6 years old. He was a fun-loving, energetic boy,his parents wrote in his obituary. He Had just lost his two front teeth. Chase had two older sisters, Brittany, a high schooler, and Erin , who is in middle school, “Okay, the best day of my life started on Sunday morning when my... son came to me in a vision. He came to tell me to explain to my husband that the scope of this event was so large and that there were so many people around the country and the world we were touching. I felt that my son was here in this vision to tell me that the not-for-profit scholarship organization that we are starting in Chase’s honor will save lives, change building codes, demand gun and ammunition control, and that in Chase’s name I would like to bring God back to America. These are the first starting goals of the organization.”She says she will keep Chase alive in her life through the Chase Kowalski Scholarship Fund. “I don’t know where it’s going,” she says. “All I can say is that it’s in the beginning stages. But after I received that vision from Chase, my sadness left me and I have been strong since. He’ll stay alive through the work this organization does and I will never let people forget Chase or any of the other 19 children who were lost that day.”
Benjamin Wheeler, 6 years old. His family moved from Queens to Newtown just a few years ago. They wanted somewhere quiet to raise their family, they said. Ben loved the beetles,swimming, soccer, his big brother Nate and the 7 train. “He rode the 7 train every time we visited New York. He was more interested in the subways than the museums and the zoos,” his mom wrote in that heartwrenching letter The Rabbi remembered how he got the party started at a Chenukah celebration by dancing fist.. He brought joy to everyone.
Rachel D`Avino, 29 years old. Rachel was a newly hired teacher`s aide and behavioral therapist at Sandy Hook. She reportedly died shielding students from bullets. her heroic actions and those of other teachers likely saved the lives of many more at the school that day. Her boyfriend, Anthony, had asked permission to marry her and was going to propose to her on Christmas Eve. She was buried wearing the engagement ring she would have received. She had a talent for connecting with children with autism, her sister said. D'Avino, who received a bachelor's degree from the University of Hartford, was completing her Ph.D. at the University of St. Joseph of Hartford's Institute for Autism and Behavioral Studies. One of her professors, John Molteni, said in a Facebook post that D'Avino was within days of completing her course. "She was a paraprofessional working with a student with special needs, something she had dedicated her life to doing," Molteni wrote. "She had just completed her coursework to sit for her certification exam on Wednesday."
Jack Pinto, 6....he loved football, skiing, wrestling and reading, and he also loved his school. Friends from his wrestling team attended his funeral in their uniforms. The family released a statement, saying, Jack was an "inspiration to all those who knew him.""He had a wide smile that would simply light up the room and while we are all uncertain as to how we will ever cope without him, we choose to remember and celebrate his life," the statement said. "Not dwelling on the loss but instead on the gift that we were given and will forever cherish in our hearts forever." Jack`s parents told reporters that their little boy adored Victor Cruz. The shoe of New York Giants wide receiver,Cruz, bears the words R.I.P. Jack Pinto. . . in memory of Jack The Sandy Hook first-grader was buried in his #80 Giants jersey–the white version, like the one Cruz wears for away games
Jessica, 6 years old. loved horseback riding and learning about orcas. She often researched the orca whales.Her love of whales culminated in a trip to Sea World two months ago. She would have been unwrapping cowboy boots and a cowgirl hat on Christmas morning. Her mother said that she had wanted "real" cowboy boots, not the kind from Target. She "knew" that she would be getting a horse for her 10th birthday. Jessica was described as a bright, mature, loving yet strong -willed young girl. She loved to write. She left behind two little brothers, one who was just born in April of this year.
Ana Marques- 6 years old, was an incredibly loving and spunky kid" who loved to sing and dance A year ago, Ana was reveling in holiday celebrations with her extended family on her first trip to Puerto Rico. This year will be heartbreakingly different. Her grandmother, Elba Marquez, said the family moved to Connecticut just two months ago, drawn from Canada, in part, by Sandy Hook's sterling reputation. The grandmother's brother, Jorge Marquez, is mayor of a Puerto Rican town Ana seemingly followed in the musical footsteps of her father, jazz musician Jimmy Greene, when she sang “Come Thou Almighty King” last summer while her 9-year-old brother, Isaiah, accompanied her on piano
Caroline Previdi, 6, was eulogized as a sweet little child who loved to draw and loved to dance. She loved soccer. She wanted a camera for Christmas to take pictures of everybody, her grandmother remembered. Last year she broke her piggy bank at Christmas to buy toys for the needy children. She was very caring and tender hearted. "She was happy. She was innocent. She danced everywhere she went," Many who came to the service wore green and white ribbons in tribute to the victims. Others wore pink, said to be Caroline's favorite color. Caroline was described as sweet and beautiful, with an infectious smile. She left her older brother, Walker
James Mattioli, 6 years old, loved math and sports He was fondly called “J” for short, was remembered singing at the top of his lungs and once asked his family "How old do I have to be to sing on a stage?" James loved football and basketball and would “swim like a fish in both of his grandparents' pools and ride his bike, proudly without training wheels,” his family said. He loved to grab the gel to spike his hair and loved playing games on the IPad. The “early-riser” of the family, James liked to end the day cuddling with his mother on the couch after “grabbing his pillow and brown fleece blanket.” He loved to work outside with his Dad. "I need to go outside" he often told his mom. "I need fresh air."
Charlotte Bacon , 6 years old, was remembered at her service as a spirited, warm-hearted little girl who loved the color pink and any animal she met.She wanted to be a veterinarian since she was 2 years old and loved to visit the zoo, as she had done with her family two weeks prior. She loved wearing the color pink and was learning Tae Kwon Do with her father and brother. Those at her service each received a button with her likeness and a program with a cover that featured an angel superimposed over a sheet filled with the name "Charlotte." Charlotte was getting a pink dress and pink boots for Christmas. They were supposed to be for the holidays, but finally on Friday, after hearing much begging, Charlotte Bacon's mother relented and let her wear the new pink dress and boots to school. It was the last outfit the outgoing redhead would ever pick out. Charlotte's older brother, Guy, was also in the school that day, but was not hurt. Joel Bacon is a scientist and JoAnn Bacon is a stay-at-home mother who served as her daughter's Girl Scout leader,They have lived in Sandy Hook for four or five years. Charlotte's grandparents are retired missionaries who moved to Sandy Hook this year to be closer to their grandchildren, In the spirit of kindness and humanity, I share Joel's thoughts with you, an illustration of what "going above and beyond a job description" looks like.... From the facebook page in Charlotte`s memory, her mother wrote...."It is important to JoAnn and I that we convey to everyone the depth of our gratitude to State Trooper Jason Cassavechia. Some of you may not realize that each victim's family was assigned a state trooper on the day of the tragedy. Jason was w...ith us from the moment we were informed Charlotte was missing and has since taken great care of us through the darkest of these days. We were honored that Jason and his family sat beside us while attending our Church Christmas Eve service. We are proud to call him a dear friend and honorary member of our family. Next time you see a state trooper, please thank them for all they do."
Jesse Lewis, 6 years old. His distraught family said: “Jesse died bravely trying to lead other children to safety. In our hearts we already knew because that was the way he lived his life — fearless, full of courage and strength.” For Jesse Lewis, a day that was supposed to be spent making gingerbread houses became the last day of his short life. Grieving father Neil Heslin told The Post that before yesterday’s nightmare attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School he had been planning to go to his 6-year-old son’s first-grade class to watch the happy holiday tradition. Jesse left behind an older brother JT. He lived on his mother's farm in Newtown
Josephine Gay, 7 years old. Through Josephine, also known as Joey, her parents learned not to give up on people, that iPhones are not waterproof, and every cupcake needs a taste tester. They also remembered finding peanut butter covered spoons in various locations throughout their house, because of Josephine's affinity for the spread. Her parents pointed out she preferred the regular kind of peanut butter, not the organic one. Every mouthful needed a new spoon, Bob Gay said. She liked Barbie, her iPad and the color purple. Despite Josephine’s difficulties as a mute child, she had a passion for life. She had two sisters, Sophia and Marie My journey of sketching these precious victims ended tonight, as I finished the last one. It has truly been heart breaking to see the faces, research their lives and to visually think about the families that were left behind. So much heart ache for them. Families, and lives that will forever be changed in just the blink of an eye. So much evil.... but through it all, it is so encouraging to read so many of the families that talked about the hope they have in God, and knowing where their loved one was.... I hope we will always remember these children and teachers that are no longer with us.. remember that life is short, we are not promised tomorrow. Live life each day as if it were our last day... Love, give love, shine for Him in all we do.... May God bless all the families and friends who were left behind.... Glad to be a part of BlueDiaryillustrations Sunday Sketch....


  1. What a wonderful gesture and gift to the world and these families. It brought tears to my eyes.

    Love to you. xx

  2. Goose bumps, Jane. What a wonderful, moving tribute to each one. Wow. Tears here, reminded of such a horrific tragedy. Blessings.

  3. Theseare really quite amazing. Chilling to think no e of them will grow i to their potential which you have captured so well.thanks so much for sharing!