Author(s): Kaitlin Roig-Debellis
On December 14th, 2012, twenty children and six adults were massacred in Newtown, CT. It devastated not only the community but the entire US nation and shocked the world. Questions were asked. Why? How could this happen? No answers came. Faced with senseless and incomprehensible tragedy life can feel hopeless...But as Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis says: 'You can choose hope - even in the darkest hour. We have that power. I do. You do. Everyone does. That is what I believe.'..Kaitlin is the first-grade teacher from Sandy Hook who saved her class by piling them in a one-stall bathroom during the massacre. If anyone has the right to feel hopeless or angry at the world, it would be Kaitlin. But that's not who she is. She believes in the power of kindness; she believes in teachers and using a social curriculum to help shape children into the best people they can be; she believes in humanity...Although Choosing Hope bears witness to the tragedy at Sandy Hook, it is really about the days and weeks that followed: the heroism of the first responders; the kindness and outpouring of love that flooded into the community and helped begin the healing process; trying to find a new normalcy after devastation. Most importantly, Choosing Hope is about how we move beyond tragedy, how we move away from despair and towards hope. How it's in our power to choose how we react to the world - and that can make all the difference.
Kaitlin M. Roig-DeBellis attended The University of Connecticut, where she completed her Masters of Education with honours from the Neag School of Education in 2006. In 2007 she began teaching first grade at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In 2013, while on temporary leave from teaching, she founded Classes 4 Classes, Inc., (https://www.classes4classes.org/). Kaitlin has been honoured as a Glamour Magazine Woman of the Year. She was also chosen as one of "L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth" of which she was among "10 Inspiring Women Making Beautiful Differences in their Communities" for her work with Classes 4 Classes. In 2013, she attended the State of the Union address as a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama. That same year she received the Dedicated Teacher Award from The Chicago International Conference on Education. She contributes to a bi-weekly educational blog for the Huffington Post and contributed to the book, 'Teaching From the Heart,' Volume 2. She has been featured in People, Marie Claire, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and All You, and appeared on The Nightly News with Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper 360 and The Katie Couric Show. Kaitlin currently speaks to School Boards, Administrators, Teachers and High School and College students across the United States and Canada as a keynote and commencement speaker. In 2014, she ran the New York City Marathon in honor of the lives lost at Sandy Hook...