NBCNEWS.COM - Four of Newtown's children have been buried – and now one of its heroic teachers will be laid to rest on Wednesday.
Victoria Soto, whose family said she died protecting her terrified students from rifle fire, will be remembered in her hometown of Stratford, Conn., where the 27-year-old still lived with her close-knit family.
It's expected many of the mourners will be wearing scarves and ribbons of green – Soto's favorite color. Her family is certain to talk about her devotion to her students, so many of whom were murdered despite her selfless efforts.
"They brought a smile to her face always," her sister, Carlee, told TODAY on Sunday. "She loved those students more than anything. She didn't call them her students. She called them her kids."
Soto's aunt was a teacher, and she always knew she wanted to follow in her footsteps. At Sandy Hook Elementary, where she was in her fifth year of teaching, she presided over Classroom 10 with a warm smile.
On Friday morning, she was finishing up her daily morning meeting with the class when gunman Adam Lanza began his rampage.
Her cousin, Fairfield County Police Officer James Wiltsie, said the family was told by authorities that Soto hurried the kids into a closet behind her, "trying to shield them from the spray of bullets."
"Doing instinctively what she knew to do," he said.