Updated: Friday, 21 Dec 2012, 4:36 PM EST
Published : Friday, 21 Dec 2012, 4:36 PM EST
NORWALK, Conn. (WTNH)-- 27-year-old Vicki Soto was loving, funny, creative and full of life. She had an infectious smile and laugh. She loved the color green, the number 4, Christmas and chicken parmigiana. Nowhere did her warmth and passion shine brighter than in her first grade classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Vicki Soto's best friend, Rachel Schiavone said, "she loved being a teacher, that was everything to her. Just teaching those kids and this year she definitely bragged about her classroom and how wonderful the kids were, and all the different things she was going to do with them."
Her dedication to her students is now her lasting legacy.
"We know that she died protecting her kids and she'd have it no other way," said Schiavone.
Best friends since they met at Eastern Connecticut State University, Rachel Schiavone and Vicki Soto would talk and text daily, including last Friday.
"I haven't stopped talking to her. I talk to her every morning and every night. I talk to her because it's the only way I feel I can get through and she's not gone, she's still here," said Schiavone.
Rachel says she still very much feels the presence of her best friend, especially when she's inside her apartment, that's because just two months ago, it was Vicki who moved her in.
"I was emptying the dishwasher the other night and I was like I'm putting the cup right back in here because that's where Vicki had it, so that's where it goes now and so it's just a wonderful memory to be in here and to know that she helped us set all this up and our whole house is filled with her," said Schiavone.
A sign on her wall reminds her of how Vicki chose to live her life.
"She really did live, laugh, love to the fullest," said Schiavone.
And that's something this friend can smile about.
Schiavone said, "I feel that is was such a privilege, such a true privilege seeing her on TV, I just feel that it was a true privilege to be her best friend."