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Ted Varga, Sandy Hook Elementary School Teacher, Helped Others Escape Shooting

Ted Varga

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 12/20/12 EST Updated: 12/21/12 EST

As Newtown continues to mourn the 26 lives lost Friday during the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a teacher there is being hailed a hero for risking his life to save his colleagues.

Fourth-grade teacher Ted Varga was reminiscing about the previous night's school chorus events in a conference room Friday when he heard gunshots, the New York Daily News reports. Varga quickly slipped out of the building through an emergency exit, but then turned back to save his fellow instructors.

The quick-thinking teacher returned to the conference room, dislodged a wooden board next to an air conditioner and helped three others climb out the window, the Daily News reports.

"If we didn't leave when we did, we would have all died," Varga told the paper. "There certainly weren't enough places for all of us to have hidden. We would have all been gunned down."

A number of brave people inside the school that day prevented the gunman from taking any more lives. After the shooting began, a still unidentified person turned on the loudspeaker to alert the unsuspecting students and faculty of what was happening.

"You could hear the hysteria that was going on," Varga told the Associated Press. "Whoever did that saved a lot of people. Everyone in the school was listening to the terror that was transpiring."

Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach each lunged toward the gunman to stop the shooting, and both sacrificed their lives in that effort to save others, according to the AP. Victoria Soto, a 27-year-old teacher, was gunned down while protecting her students. She is also being remembered as a "tremendous hero."

Varga also praised a custodian who ran through the school's halls warning as many people as he could.

"He said, 'Guys! Get down! Hide!"' Varga told the Associated Press of the courageous janitor. "So he was actually a hero."