Hochsprung, who became Sandy Hook Elementary School's principal two years ago, was "really nice and very fun, but she was also very much a tough lady in the right sort of sense," friend Tom Prunty said. And the students loved her. "Even little kids know when someone cares about them, and that was her," he said.
"I never saw her without a smile," said Aimee Seaver, the mother of a first-grader.
Hochsprung lived in Woodbury, Connecticut, with her husband, two daughters and three stepdaughters.
The longtime career educator majored in special education for her bachelor's and master's degrees in the 1990s and entered the Ph.D. program at Esteves School of Education at the Sage Colleges in New York last summer. Hochsprung led a school district's strategic planning panel and was the recipient of a national school grant.
Her accomplishments included overseeing the installation of a new security system requiring every visitor to ring the front entrance's doorbell after the school doors locked at 9:30 a.m.
"My mom, Dawn Hochsprung, was taken tragically from me. But she went down in a blaze of glory that truly represents who she was," her daughter, Cristina Hassinger, tweeted.
Madeleine Hsu, 6
Sweet. Unique. Bright. Determined. Sparking.
Those are words Madeleine's family used to describe their little girl.
"She was an avid reader who loved running and dancing," they said. "She was a born leader."
Catherine Hubbard, 6
The little girl with bright red hair will be remembered for her smile and her love of animals.
Catherine is survived by her older brother, her parents, grandparents, great-grandmother, uncles, aunts and nine cousins.
"Her family prays that she, all the students of Sandy Hook Elementary, and all those affected by this brutal event find peace in their hearts," they wrote in her obituary.
In lieu of flowers, her family asked that people make donations to the Newtown Animal Center.
A Facebook page honoring Catherine spoke of how she is now an angel.
"Such a beautiful little soul," the post read, saying the family's loss is heaven's gain.
Chase Kowalski, 7
What Chase really wanted for Christmas was two front teeth.
"I saw him two days ago, and I asked him if he wanted to see Santa, and he told me that he wanted his teeth back, and it was really sweet," Chase's neighbor Keeley Baumann, 13, told the News-Times newspaper.