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Newtown Victim Funerals: Friday Services Scheduled For School Psychologist, Teacher, 3 Students

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NEWTOWN VICTIM FUNERALS
Grace McDonnel (L) and Olivia Engel | Family handout / AP

One week after the tragedy that left 28 people dead, Newtown continues its public grieving.

Friday marks the funerals of students Olivia Engel, Dylan Hockley, Grace McDonnell, as well as for behavioral therapist Rachel D'Avino and school psychologist Mary Sherlach, both of whom died in attempts to save students.

Private funerals have already been held for students Madeline Hsu and Avielle Richman, according to CT News.

Behavioral therapist Rachel D'Avino's boyfriend was planning on proposing to her Christmas Eve. Anthony Cerritelli, 27, had asked D'Avino's parents for permission to marry their daughter days before the shooting.

D'Avino, 29, had recently started working at Sandy Hook Elementary School as a teacher's aide, according to ABC, and was finishing a doctorate degree. Her aunt, Christine Carmody, told Lohud that her niece had "the greatest sense of humor" and loved animals, even "frogs, snakes and mice -- not the animals most people like."

She died shielding children from bullets. Her funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Conn., followed by burial at Mt. St. Olivet Cemetery in Watertown.

Olivia Engel, 6, had been excited last Friday to come home and make a gingerbread house. She was supposed to play an angel in her church's nativity play the night of the shooting, the Daily Beast reported.

The energetic child "loved school" and "was creative, loved craft projects and art class, and loved participating in as many sports and activities as her mom Shannon could get her to…nothing was off limits for the little girl," her family wrote in a statement.

Engel's funeral mass is set for 1 p.m. at the St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown.

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Dylan Hockley, 6, "was learning to read and was so proud when he read us a new book every day," his family wrote in a statement. Everyone who met the boy with the "beaming smile" loved him.

His family had moved to Newtown from England two years ago, and had selected the area for its elementary school and strong community, the CT Post reported.

A public memorial service for Hockley will be held at 1 p.m. at Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel, Conn.

Madeline "Maddy" Hsu, 6, was "upbeat and kind," neighbor Karen Dryer said, according to the Stamford Advocate. Dryer said the little girl was sweet and shy, and that her face lit up whenever she got off the bus and saw Dryer's golden retriever, according to the AP.

Hsu's funeral was held in private.

Grace McDonnell, 7, wanted to grow up to live on the beach and be a painter, her mother, Lynn told CNN. Her parents decorate her small coffin with a collage of "all the things she loved -- including ice cream cones, lighthouses, and seagulls."

Her mother told the station that their family would be able to move on without anger, because that's what their daughter would have wanted. "Grace didn't have an ounce of hate in her … She was all about peace," Lynn McDonnell said.

A memorial mass for Grace McDonnell is set for 11 a.m. at the St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown.

First-grader Avielle "Avie" Richman was "a lover and teller of stories," her obituary states. The 6-year-old's parents had moved to Connecticut from San Diego a couple of years ago, according to CBS, and they still called their daughter their "California Girl." Her father, Jeremy, had a blog called "Avielle's Adventures" where he would write about the family's life together.

A private funeral for Richman has already occurred.

School psychologist Mary Sherlach, 56, had provided guidance and support to the students of Sandy Hook Elementary for 20 years and was a year away from retirement.

The married mother of two was also "a psychologist off the job" her daughter, Maura Schwartz, told Newtown Patch. "Any time a friend was in crisis, they called my mom….She was constantly wanting to help people," Schwartz said, adding that Sherlach "taught me how to be compassionate."

Sherlach died charging towards the gunman in an attempt to defend the students and teachers of Sandy Hook. Her husband, Bill, was not surprised by her heroism. He told Patch he knew she “wasn’t going to be cowering in the corner, she was going to do what she needed to do to protect those children."

Sherlach's memorial mass will take place at 11 a.m. at St. Stephen Church in Trumbull, Conn.

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