We Are Atheism, SOMA (Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics), and American Atheists are proud to inform you that our Sandy Hook Elementary School Fundraiser has finally come to end. We had over 1,000 people from around the country donate nearly $28,000.
As promised, your money was split evenly between three of the non-profit organizations that are giving direct aid and scholarship funds. We donated nearly $9,000 to the Newtown Memorial Fund. This fund will go to the physical memorial being built, provide for the immediate assistance for ongoing needs of those affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, and to establish academic scholarships in the victims’ names for future generations of Newtown students.
Next, we donated a little over $8,000 to the My Sandy Hook Family Fund. This fund was set up by the parents of children who survived and other locals. It will help with funeral costs, as well as ongoing living expenses such as food, mortgage payments, daycare, insurance and fuel until they are back on solid ground.
The third organization who received funds is the University of Connecticut Foundation for nearly $8,500. This foundation set up a special scholarship entitled The Sandy Hook School Memorial Scholarship Fund which will help support the college costs for any siblings of those killed in the assault, the dependents of adults who also lost their lives, as well as students currently enrolled at the elementary school, who are accepted to attend the University.
Thank you so much for all of your hard work. Now they know we stand with them to resolve this tragedy, ensuring it will never happen again.
Noah Posner, Age 6 had a huge heart and he was so much fun, a little bit rambunctious, lots of spirit. He was really the light of the room.When his mother told him she loved him, Noah replied, “Not as much as I love you, Mom,” said his uncle, according to the AP. In another classroom, his twin sister, whom he called his best friend, survived the shooting. Along with their older sister, 8-year-old Sophia, the siblings were inseparable. “He was just a really lively, smart kid,” added his uncle. “He would have become a great man, I think. He would have grown up to be a great dad.”
Charlotte Bacon, age 6, was sweet, outgoing and full of energy. The pink dress and boots Charlotte wore to school Friday were purchased for the holidays, but after plenty of pleas, her mother finally let her daughter wear the ensemble to class. She even styled Charlotte’s red curly hair specially to celebrate the end of the week. “She was going to go some places in this world,” her uncle, John Hagen, of Nisswa, Minn., told Newsday. “This little girl could light up the room for anyone.”
Jack Pinto, age 6, first grader who loved baseball, basketball, wrestling, snow skiing, and football. When New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz took the field Dec. 16, Jack’s memory was honored on his game-day uniform. “Jack Pinto, My Hero,” the NFL player wrote on one of his cleats. “Jack Pinto This one is 4 U!” he wrote on his gloves. It’s a fitting remembrance – the family had considered burying the boy, a young Cruz fan, in the player’s No. 80 jersey. “My sincerest condolences to the entire Pinto family,” Cruz said. “My prayers are with you during this extremely difficult time.”
Olivia Engel’s favorit stuffed animal was a lamb and her favorite colors were pink and purple. This holiday season, Olivia was cast in the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church’s live nativity scene. “She was supposed to be an angel in the play,” Monsignor Robert Weiss told the mourners gathered in the church before Saturday’s production, according toReuters. “Now she’s an angel up in heaven.” Her smile lives on in the Facebook photographs that tell the story of a wide-eyed child who went boating with her family and told Santa what she wanted for Christmas. “Her only crime,” said a family friend, according to the AP, “is being a wiggly, smiley 6-year-old.”
Dylan Hockley, age 6, loved video games, jumping on a trampoline, watching movies and munching on garlic bread. Living in England for most of his life, Dylan and his family moved to Connecticut two years ago, his grandmother tells the Boston Herald. He loved playing video games, eating garlic bread and jumping on the trampoline with his older brother Jake. All dimples and big blue eyes, “he had the most mischievous little grin,” his grandmother adds. “To know him was to love him.”
Catherine Hubbard, Age 6. She had a passion for animals and a constant smile. The freckled-faced redhead is the niece of an employee at ABC News, which received a statement from the family expressing both grief and gratitude. “We are greatly saddened by the loss of our beautiful daughter,” said parents Jennifer and Matthew Hubbard, “and our thoughts and prayers are with the other families who have been affected by this tragedy. We ask that you continue to pray for us and the other families who have experienced loss in this tragedy.”
Avielle Richman, 6, was happiest when she was on a horse. Her trainer told the Connecticut Post that she would giggle when she trotted. ”Her smile could get her out of anything,” Avielle’s riding instructor, Annette Sullivan, told the Connecticut Post about the giggly girl who wore pink cowboy boots. She was about to lose her front tooth, Sullivan says, so Avielle happily showed off her wiggly-toothed grin. This Christmas, she asked for an Easy Bake Oven. “She wanted to be able to make her mom cookies,”
Anne Marie Murphy, 52 year-old teacher died protecting her students. She was found with Dylan in her arms. At her funeral Mass, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, said “Like him [Jesus], she has brought together a community, a nation, a world, now awed by her own life and death. Like Jesus, Annie’s life and death brings light, truth, goodness, and love to a world often shrouded in darkness, evil, selfishness, and death.” For more info on Annie and her life click here.
Jessica Rekos, 6, loved everything about horses- horse movies, horse books, drawing horses, and writing stories about horses. This year, Jessica wanted cowgirl boots and a hat for Christmas. Her parents promised to get her a real one when she turned 10, reports the Wall Street Journal. “Jessica was our first born. She started our family, and she was our rock,” her family says. “We called her our little CEO for the way she carefully thought out and planned everything. We can’t imagine our life without her.” They add they’re “trying to help her brother Travis understand why he can’t play with his best friend.”
Victoria Soto, 27, she saved lives of 16 students by hiding them in the closet and putting her body between them and the shooter. She wasn’t just a teacher. She was a hero. She loved those students more than anything, and she didn’t call them her students, she called them her kids.
James Mattioli, nearly 7 years old, He was so much to the people in his life and will be forever missed. No matter the weather, James preferred shorts and T-shirts, his look not complete without a little hair gel. From baseball to basketball to swimming and arm-wrestling, he loved games, including the ones he’d play on his iPad. “I need to go outside, Mom,” he’d say. “I need fresh air”. When he wasn’t on the move, as day turned to night, he’d grab his brown fleece blanket and a pillow and snuggle up on the couch next to his mom.
Josephine Gay, 7, lived for the color purple and making other people happy each and every day of her life. She celebrated her 7th birthday on Dec. 11. Now, balloons hang on the mailboxes and gates near Josephine’s home, all in her favorite color: purple. She was the girl known for riding her bike and setting up a lemonade stand in summer. People called her Boo, reports the Register Citizen, after the girl in the movie Monsters, Inc.
Caroline Previdi, 6, had an infectious smile and a giving heart. She loved to dance and draw. Last year around this time, Caroline broke her piggy bank so she could give her local priest money to buy Christmas presents for children who were less fortunate. On her own wish list: a camera, so she could take pictures of everyone, her grandfather tells PEOPLE, adding, “she was a bouncy kid.” Her older brother, Walker, also attended the school; during the shooting, he managed to escape from another classroom.
Benjamin Wheeler, 6, recently moved to Newtown in 2011 from NYC so he could grow up in a “quieter” place. He was fascinated by the subway and train system. For Christmas he was going to receive the #7 train he rode to and from NYC, the train he loved the most.
Daniel Barden, 7. The image of Daniel that comes to mind for neighbor Peter Bernson is a very special, happy glimpse into the life of the first-grader: a laughing, brown-haired boy heading to the bus stop every morning atop his father’s shoulders. The youngest of three children, he was a familiar face at swim practice, among other activities. “This is a warm, loving family,” a co-worker of his mother, Jackie Barden, tells the AP. “The kids were the type of kids parents want their children to be around: warm and wonderful and caring and kind. This is heartbreaking.”
For the principal, teaching was a magical experience — literally. Last month, she donned a crown and sparkly dress to become the Sandy Hook Book Fairy to motivate first-graders to read. A friend told CNN she was “nice and very fun” but also “a tough lady in the right sort of sense.” Hochsprung died protecting children when the gunman opened fire in the main office.
Grace McDonnell, 7, ”A real little doll” is how a neighbor describes Grace, whom she’d see at the bus stop each morning, bound for a day of school. “It’s heartbreaking, just heartbreaking,” says neighbor Todd Werden. “It’s just unfathomable.” Her parents and older brother, Chris, Lynn and Jack McDonnell, reached out to share a statement in her memory. “We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from so many people. Our daughter Grace was the love and light of our family. Words cannot adequately express our sense of loss.”
Emilie Parker, age 6. Even at 6, Emilie had plenty to teach her younger sisters, like how to dance, how to laugh. Before her death, she was teaching her 4-year-old sister to read and her 3-year-old sister to craft. “They looked up to her,” said her father, according to the AP. “They looked up to her when they needed comfort. They’d run to Emilie for hugs and kisses.” The last time he saw his daughter that morning, she spoke to him in Portuguese, a language she was beginning to master. “She said she loved me, and I gave her a kiss,” he recalled, “and I was out the door.”
Nancy Lanza, 52, sometimes sat at a local bar and talked about her prized gun collection while sampling craft beers. The shooting’s first victim, she was killed by her son with one of her own guns before he continued on to the school. Divorced since 2008, she could be social and welcoming, a fan of jazz music, but also edgy and tense, reports the New York Times. She’s now a mystery. “Who were they?” asked one neighbor. “I’m sure we rang their door on Halloween.”