STRATFORD -- An annual 5k honoring one of the teachers killed in the Sandy Hook School Shooting brings thousands of people to Stratford every year.
This year the Vicki Soto Memorial 5k had record attendance, despite the rain and wind.
27 year old Vicki Soto was killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting while hiding her first graders in her classroom's closet.
She was instantly hailed a hero.
Six years later, Vicki's family remembers her positive spirit and love for education through the Vicki Soto Memorial Fund, which funds the literacy needs in schools in her hometown of Stratford.
Her family has held a 5k every year since her death to help raise money for the foundation.
"I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, but it’s important to me to have this so I can kind of pick up where Vicki had to leave off," says Caitlyn Keegan, a scholarship recipient from the Vicki Soto Memorial Scholarship.
A select few students are given the opportunity to carry on Vicki's legacy in the classroom as recipients of a scholarship in her name.
The Soto family has given away more than $90,000 in scholarships so far.
"Its core values are just laughter and love and kindness and I think those are just such an important pillars in an educational classroom," says Hailey Coleman, a Vicki Soto Memorial Scholarship recipient.
Vicky gave her life to save her first graders and now everyone participating in her 5K event are giving back to support the future educators of America.
"Vicki would be so excited so happy and honored that all of these people are here to support her," says Jillian Soto, Vicki's younger sister.
Teachers coming to run honor her dedication to her job and to her students.
"She was in a classroom doing what we all would do the day that she did," says Beth Ford, a sixth grade teacher at Wilcoxon Elementary School. "I just can’t think beyond that and this is not even enough to give her the honor she deserves."
Even people too young to remember the tragedies at Sandy Hook know they're running for an important cause.
"We do it for Vicki," says 9-year-old Sophie Vazquez.