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Westlake Teachers Show Love for Newtown

Holly Lane Elementary School teachers grieve for their fallen peers in Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings

Grief and gratitude were the emotions of the day for teachers and staff at Holly Lane Elementary School on Monday.

Many wore green and white to show , after Friday's mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

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They hurt for their colleagues in Newtown, and the six teachers and school staff who died.

"I looked at (their pictures) and they looked like us," said teacher Kristi Fortuna, fighting tears. "Like them, we do everything we can to make our students' days amazing. And they sacrificed their lives for their students."

For principal Mimi Verdone, comfort came as the students arrived.

"I was so grateful to be greeted by their smiling faces," she said.

According to Westlake City Schools communications coordinator Kim Bonvissuto, no students in the district were out of school on Monday because of anything related to the Newtown tragedy.

There was another moment that meant a lot to Verdone.

"A mom came up to me and said, 'Thanks for all you do to make sure our kids are safe,'" she said. 

There were some nerves for teachers as they got back to work.

"I was way more attentive to things going on, and people going by my door," Fortuna said.

Verdone said she hopes that people don't let what happened in Newtown fade into memory any time soon.

"We need to talk about hard issues, like weapons and mental illness," she said. "If we don't do something, this can happen again."

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