Willimantic, Conn. –Maggie Bodington, a freshman from Stratford, is this year’s recipient of the Vicki Soto Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship was created in honor of Victoria Leigh Soto ’08, who lost her life protecting the children of her first-grade classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Dec. 14, 2012. Bodington could not be more grateful to have received the award or more ecstatic to carry on Vicki’s legacy.
The scholarship was the final award given at Stratford High School’s (SHS) Senior Scholarship Award Night this past June. “I was so blown away when I won it,” said Bodington. “I wanted it for what it really means, not just the money, but to continue her legacy. She was so full of life. The things she stood for — live, laugh, love — they are how I try to live my life.”
Bodington and Soto both grew up in Stratford and attended SHS, but it wasn’t until award night when she formally met the Soto family. “They are such nice people, I love them!” Bodington said. “They’re a normal family like mine, which you don’t really get from the news,” speaking of how the Sotos were depicted tragically in the media.
Ever since she was a child, Bodington knew she wanted to be a teacher. “I love kids. I always wanted to teach kindergarten. I hope to be the teacher everyone wants,” she said. Since attending Eastern, though, she’s had a slight change of mind. “Recently I realized I wanted to be a physical education teacher. I’d be able to play with kids and run around playing sports all day!”
Bodington is energetic both in and out of the classroom. She’s been an athlete her whole life and currently plays on Eastern’s soccer team, and plans to join the lacrosse team in the spring semester. She also hopes to join Habitat for Humanity and Best Buddies (clubs), if her schedule permits.
The Vicki Soto Memorial Scholarship is a $5,026 scholarship awarded once a year to a graduating senior from Stratford High School and a graduating senior from Bunnell High School in Stratford. Recipients of the scholarship must be pursuing a career in education and demonstrate excellence in academics, extracurricular activities and leadership skills. The recipients must also demonstrate the spirit to live, laugh and love, both in life and education —the way Vicki did.