PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Kaitlin Roig is credited with saving 16 lives, including her own, when the gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012. She’s taking that tragedy and trying to turn it into a positive movement through her non-profit educational website.
Roig shared her story with students at Centennial High School in Portland on Friday. Her message now is of hope and purpose.
On the day the gunman killed 20 children and six adults, she took 15 students into a bathroom and kept them safe.
“We stood huddled together in that bathroom and heard shots and pure evil and terror,” she told the students. For 45 minutes, she and the students huddled in a 4×3 bathroom and told them to stand on the toilet to make room for each other.
She locked the door and waited for the good guys.
Eventually the authorities came to the bathroom door.
“I said, ‘If you are really the police I need your badge right now.’ They put it under the door. As I held it, it looked fake,” she said. “I could not believe it was real.”
The the SWAT unit opened the door and she realized they were safe.
Since that time, Roig has made it her mission to speak to students all around the nation about hope, and even when the worst is before you, live life to the fullest.
Her non-profit organization, Classes 4 Classes, has as its mission “to teach every child in our nation that our lives are not separate but rather completely connected, and that everyone has the power to take action and create positive change.”
“Always know your purpose,” she said Friday. “My purpose is, as it always has been, to help children.”