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White House officials announced on Tuesday that the Sandy Hook Elementary school staff who died protecting the students of the Netwtown, Connecticut, school during December's 14 mass shooting will be awarded posthumous presidential medals — reported the AP

The honorees, to be awarded the medals during a February 15 White House ceremony, are principal Dawn Hochsprung, psychologist Mary Sherlach and teachers Rachel D'Avino, Lauren Rousseau, Anne Marie Murphy and Victoria Soto. 

"These extraordinary educators, who sacrificed their lives to protect students in their care, gave a profound new dimension to the meaning of public service," said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). "All of America has been awed by the story of their strength, bravery and caring reflected in this honor," he added.

The award honors Americans who have performed "exemplary deeds of service" for their country or fellow citizens.