Katy teacher was roommate of school shooting victim

Published On: Dec 17 2012 05:13:46 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 17 2012 06:21:46 PM CST
HOUSTON -

The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School hit close to home for a Katy junior high school teacher. Her college roommate was one of the victims in Friday's rampage.

Victoria Soto was a first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook. She is being hailed as a hero for hiding some of her students in a closet, saving their lives.

Kristen Polakow, a science teacher at Cardiff Jr. High, and Soto were roommates at Eastern Connecticut State University.

"Everyone was happy to be around her. She loved her job. She loved those kids," Polakow said. "She wanted to be the fun teacher. She was willing to get her hands dirty, crawl on the floor if need be and just be one of the kids."

She wishes she could tell Soto how proud she is of her college friend.

"What she did was amazing. It chokes me up thinking about it. She saved those kids," Polakow said.

Polakow is collecting money during lunches and at the school's front office through Thursday afternoon. The donations will be split between an education fund set up by the Soto family and the Sandy Hook School Support Fund.

Those who want to donate can drop off their donations at the Cardiff Junior High School front office, 3900 Dayflower Dr., through 2 p.m. Thursday.

Twenty children and six educators were killed when Adam Lanza opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Friday morning. Two of the children were buried Monday.