Transcript for Newtown Teacher Kaitlin Roig Talks About Life After Shooting
unforgettable young woman you met here on the day of the shooting at sandy hook. A first grade teacher who told us the searing story of how she hid her tiny students in a bathroom closet until the good guys could save them. She's caitlin roig and she talks to us tonight about something new and it's not about politics or policy, but redeeming tragedy with kindness. ON DECEMBER 14th, AS A SHOOTER Talked the halls of sandy hook elementary, a teacher named caitlin roig gathered up her tiny first graders and hit them in the booth room, turning out the lights, so the shooter wouldn't see. Holding on to them as the gunfire sounded. She told me about it that same day just hours after the tragedy. I said, no, we just have to be absolutely quiet, and I said, there are bad guys out there now. We need to wait for the good guys. Roig remembers watching the faces of her students and looking into their eyes. I said, I need you to know i love you all very much and it's going to be okay because i thought that was the last thing we were ever going to hear. I thought we were all going to die. And I don't know if that's okay, you know, teachers and but i wanted them to know that I loved them and I wanted that to be one of the last things they heard, not the gunfire in the hallway. That was almost four months ago. And this is caitlin roig now, saying she starts every day with something she learned from the sandy hook principal who lost her life. Which actually I got permission to use this, but my principal dawn hok sprung who passed, her mantra in life, was I can, we can, you can, because we can. And I just hold that close to my heart. I can, my kids can, we can get through this, come out on the other side, we can learn from this. We can be stronger. I can. So I just keep telling myself that. And she's still teaching those same first-grade students she sheltered through the tragedy. ask specifically but things come up. Noises are really hard for them, understandably so because on that day, the noises they heard were so loud and so scary. Noises are difficult. I would stop and I would say, look at my face. Do I look okay? Is miss roig feeling okay about this? To show them through model, i heard it too, we're okay. If they refer to anything, they say things like, when guys that day, you know. It really is here and there. It's not a constant. It's not an often presence. You said there's questions that will just never be answered. What's the biggest one? Why. Why. It's just innocent, innocent lives, no reason. Their whole lives in front of them. Gorgeous little angels. And that will never be answered. It can't be. There's no reason. Has there been any other clue from adam lanza's life or history? I prefer not to ever mention that name. I'd rather choose to honor the lives that were lost. After the shooting, the president invited her to the state of the union. But as we said, roig doesn't want to talk about policies or politics. She is more interested in a lesson about humanity. Something that grew out of that day, that the world, not just our nation, but the world of the sending things to our school and to my class specifically. My kids had everything -- teddy bears, cupcakes. And they deserved every single ounce of it. Once day, I stepped back and i said, I need to take this time to teach my students that when you get, you have to give, because that's what makes our world a better place. We're going to find a class in the united states and make them feel how we feel right now. They were all just as excited about that process as they were getting something. So the first grade teacher has created a new website called classes 4 classes. Hoping to unleash a ripple effect. Teachers go on the site to post messages about classrooms in need, anything from a cup cake to a poem to an ipad. Other classes volunteer to help, and so it continues on and on and on. You said that it's really a way to connect. When we're able to care for one another freely and learn that it's better to give than to receive, and to truly learn that. So what is the biggest change in the way you look at the day now? When you get up in the morning and you wake up? It's funny because the morning of the tragedy, it's very calming to me. The morning of the tragedy, i took a picture of the sunrise over the water. I think now, that I think back on it, it's incredibly powerful that I did that that morning. And that could have been my last morning, very easily. So I think just taking the time to -- everyone says this, but to really enjoy every single day. And do you still take a picture of the sunrise? I have. I have, yes. Not every morning, but I have. Just so beautiful, so important to take that moment. You just don't know.
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