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First graders save their teacher during medical emergency

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Hodges Heroes

Limestone County Schools | Facebook | Fair Use

Cerith Gardiner - published on 07/27/22

"I just thank God every day for them," shared the grateful teacher.

As a teacher, it must be terrible to imagine what would happen if you had a medical emergency in class. But when a teacher in Alabama collapsed on the floor, she asked her very young pupils to seek help — and they did.

Tracy Hodges, who teaches first grade at Cedar Hill Elementary in Ardmore, Alabama, woke up in the morning feeling fine. After her class had participated in singing and dancing, she began to have blurry vision. In front of her were a group of 12 students, and she couldn’t make out some of their faces.

The children picked up on the fact that something was wrong. However, they thought at first their teacher was just playing around.

“It was scary for me because I knew that they were going to have to see something probably that they didn’t need to,” Hodges shared with USA Today. “But I didn’t know any other way because I couldn’t find my way out the door.”

“Mrs. Hodges was shaking and we thought she was just joking. Then she fell out of the chair and hit her head,” reported six-year-old Dalton Widener, who was among the pupils present.

Seven-year-old Emily Johnson explained: “She fell out of the chair and her glasses fell off and she dropped.”

Before their teacher lost consciousness, she told the kids to get help. Being the great students that they are, two remained with her to keep an eye on her, and the rest spread out in the corridors looking for help.

“Some people went and got the other teacher and then we went and got the nurse,” shared Widener.

The school librarian, Heather Snyder, saw the children and the nurse and another teacher in the hallways and decided to gather up all the kids: “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.”

One of the first graders remained in the class to explain to medical professionals what had happened to their teacher before she became unconscious.

Thankfully Hodges regained consciousness. and after the hospital carried out a COVID test that came back positive, they ascertained that her seizure was related to the virus.

While Hodges started to recover, the school had to go about reassuring the children and parents. They’d obviously been scared witnessing the medical emergency, and so their teacher reached out to them to share that she was okay.

Hodges believes that the children helped save her life, sharing:

“I can’t imagine how they felt at seven years old, having to face that. 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.”

“I just thank God every day for them,” she shared with WHNT.

The school and the community were impressed by these mini heroes. The town’s sheriff, district attorney, police chief, and fire rescue team all came to the school to award the children with certificates and t-shirts.

“Hodges’ heroes,” as they are now referred to, show just how capable young people are. But as 6-year-old Dalton Widener is keen to point out: “Any students would have done it if they were here.”

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