Tallahassee, FL - Many people have undoubtedly felt some sort of connection to the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. However, it goes deeper for teachers for retired teachers like Elaine Padgett.
"I would've given my life for them," said Padgett. "Yes I would have."
Elaine Padgett dedicated more than three decades to little lives. Hundreds of Tallahassee elementary students passed through her class.
As she watched the horror unfold in Newtown -- she thought about her own special groups of six and seven year olds.
"I thought back to all of the times we had lock downs just for practice and how devastating that would've been had I had to go through something like that," said Padgett.
She has since retired and you can sometimes find her at her husband's shoe store in Market Square.
They never had children of their own.
Her students became her kids.
Padgett lights up when she talks about people who now have kids of their own.
She still knows first and last names and special stories about each, like it was yesterday they sat in her class.
"I still have some that come back and see me and I get cards from some of them," Padgett said.
Padgett teared up just thinking about the lives of those children being at risk.
She knows that just like Vicki Soto and Dawn Hochsprung from Sandy Hook Elementary, she would've protected her students to the death.
"I've had them ask me, where would we go if someone bad came? I said we could hide in the closet or we could hide in the bathroom. But I'm just glad I never had to make that decision," Padgett said with tears in her eyes.