Usually, when we hear the words hero and school together in a sentence, we expect that a teacher or adult helped children do something, or saved children in some way. However, this story shows that there’s another side to the coin. One where we see the children working together to save their teacher.
These young first graders in an Alabama elementary school are being crowned as heroes for springing into action to help their teacher during a medical crisis.
The fateful event at school took place in January. There were fewer students in the class than on a typical day, 12 to be exact, instead of the normal 18. The kids who were at school were sitting at their desks after singing and dancing around the classroom. Hodges says she felt fine that morning, but as the day went on, and at this particular moment, her vision started to become rather hazy.
“I couldn’t even find the door and I couldn’t make out the three children who were sitting in front of me,” said Hodges.
The students saw the way she was acting but didn’t know what was going on at first since they had recently been playing a playful and active exercise.
“Mrs. Hodges was shaking and we thought she was just joking,” said six-year-old student Dalton Widener, who was in the classroom at the time. “Then she fell out of the chair and hit her head.”
Another student, Emily Johnson, 7, said that’s when everyone knew something wasn’t right.
“She fell out of the chair and her glasses fell off and she dropped,” she said.
Prior to blacking out, Hodges says she requested that the children go call for help but didn’t know whether they would understand what was going on or not. However, the children understood the message plainly, and while two students stayed by Hodges’s side in the homeroom to make sure she was okay, the rest split up to cover more ground throughout the school.
The students soon got the attention of the nurse and that’s when they started running back to the class. On the way, the librarian saw the commotion and all the students with the nurse running down the hall. She then guided the kids away from the homeroom, uncertain of how serious the situation was.
“I just grabbed them and didn’t have a clue what was going on, but grabbed them and kind of comforted them and just tried to keep them calm until we could figure out what was going on,” said librarian Heather Snyder.
At that point, Hodges eventually came to, she said she was surrounded by educators and clinical staff. One of the first graders likewise returned, upon informing paramedics what had occurred prior to their arrival.
“Just having to relive that right then that day showed such bravery so we were so proud of them,” said the librarian.
After getting treated in the hospital, Hodges says she’d never even so much as had a small seizure before, but she fully recovered after a few days and the school talked with the students and parents about the occurrence to let everyone know that their teacher was okay.
Hodges mourns that her students needed to observe the crisis like that early on, but also thinks that they aided in saving her life.
“I can’t imagine how they felt at seven years old, having to face that,” said Hodges. “But if I was at home, I probably would have been by myself because my family was at work and at school. So I was at the right place at the right time because they took care of me.”
The students’ courageous efforts were recognized by their local area, including the town’s sheriff, lead prosecutor, police boss, and firefighters. Each of the four visited the school for a unique function wherein the first graders were rewarded with medals and certificates for their actions. They’re currently referred to as “Hodges’ Heroes.”
This is so amazing. I often say that kids are smarter than what we give them credit for, and this proves it. Thank God the teacher – and students – are all safe!