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Acero - Victoria Soto

Celebrating Our New Name - Victoria Soto

 Soccer Academy High School opened in the fall of 2013, serving grades 9-12.  After opening, our school community voiced great interest in participating in varsity level interscholastic athletics.  On behalf of Soccer Academy High School, UCSN made application to the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) to enable student participation in varsity level play but was denied until such a time that we remove “soccer” and/or “academy” from the school name.

IHSA membership is a high priority for our students and school community. Thus, in September 2016, our school began a renaming process where students, parents and the broader school community deliberated on a new name.  Participants focused on selecting strong female leaders that embody the values and qualities of importance to the school. Students considered characteristics such as leadership, bravery, courage, humility, success, intelligence and vision when researching the kind of leader they would like to represent their school. Stakeholders selected five individuals. The Soccer Academy Student Council narrowed the selection further to two equally desirable honorees. The school also held a student and staff vote. After consulting the living relatives of both desirable honorees, our school moved forward with the students’ choice, the late Ms. Victoria Leigh Soto.

Who is Victoria Soto?  The late Ms. Victoria Leigh Soto was a first grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. She was born in Connecticut to a Puerto Rican father and Irish-American mother. Ms. Soto earned a bachelor’s degree in both history and education from Eastern Connecticut State University. Tragically, and at the young age of 27, Ms. Soto made the ultimate sacrifice for the school children she loved. On December 14, 2012, Ms. Soto lost her life while very bravely protecting her first grade class from a gunman who took the lives of 20 Sandy Hook students and six adult staff members.

Victoria is remembered for not just her courage, but love for children and her family and an unwavering dedication to learning. Now we are pleased to honor her legacy and carry forward with our own focus on love of learning and high quality education for all as we become Soto. I look forward to working with you to build an even stronger school community with greater academic growth and achievement as we take on the name of Victoria Soto.


Kelly Smith, Principal Source: Learn More About Victoria Soto