Support Local News.

Please support our work by subscribing today.

Friends & Neighbors: Montville student at ECSU honored

Montville’s Briana Dube, a senior student at Eastern Connecticut State University, was presented last month with the annual Victoria Leigh Soto ‘08 Memorial Award by Dr. Ania Kirchmann.

The Victoria Leigh Soto ‘08 Memorial Award is selected by Eastern Connecticut State University History Department faculty and staff and presented each year to one student during the induction ceremony of the Phi Alpha Theta National Honor Society of History.

Professor Kirchmann began the presentation ceremony by explaining that “Victoria Leigh Soto was a history student and an education student, she had two majors, and she graduated in 2008.” She continued to recall how “Victoria started her new career as a first grade teacher in 2010 at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. On December 14, 2012, Vicky was teaching her class, when a man yielding a gun entered the school and killed 26 human beings, 20 of them children, and six grownups. Vicki was one of the first ones because he had entered her classroom right at the beginning of that killing spree.”

After a brief emotional pause, she went on to fondly say “I knew Vicki, she was my student, she took classes with me, and I remember her as a really bright student with a sense of humor, and a good work ethic and a commitment to both learning and teaching.”

“The History Department, in the beginning of 2013, in order to honor her memory, established the ‘History Department Victoria Leigh Soto Memorial Fund.’ It is fully maintained by donations from faculty members and alumni like you,” she said.

Dr. Kirchmann said, “Every year the history department decides which student, who is also a member of Phi Alpha Theta, is going to receive the award in honor of Victoria Soto. This year it gives me special pleasure to give this award to Briana Dube.”

After presenting the award plaque and card to Briana, Dr. Kirchmann finished by telling Briana “One of the reasons that you received this honor is that you too, like Vicki, have a commitment not only to learning but also to teaching and your future career is taking you into education and that is one of the requirements of the Victoria Leigh Soto Memorial Fund from the history department. Congratulations!”

Briana remarked that she was extremely honored and humbled because Victoria Soto is such an amazing person. She continued to say that she looked forward to a teaching career and to honor the legacy of such a heroic person and dedicated teacher.

Briana is a 2018 graduate of Montville High School and a senior student at Eastern Connecticut State University. Briana was inducted in the Phi Alpha Theta National Honor Society of History in 2021. She will graduate this year with a B.A. in History and will continue her graduate studies at ECSU to earn a master’s degree in Elementary Education.

Friends & Neighbors is a regular feature. To contribute, email


Loading comments...
Hide Comments