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students help teacher, tracy hodges, hero first-graders

Cedar Hill Elementary in Ardmore, Alabama.

Educators are almost always the heroes of their classrooms, but earlier this year at Cedar Hill Elementary in Ardmore, Alabama, a group of first-graders showed amazing courage by helping their teacher during a medical emergency.

First-grade teacher Tracy Hodges began experiencing blurry vision on January 20 when her students sat down after singing and marching in a music exercise. Attendance was low that day, with only 12 out of 18 children in attendance due to COVID-19.

"Mrs. Hodges was shaking and we thought she was just joking," Dalton Widener, 6, who was in the classroom at the time, said according to USA Today. "Then she fell out of the chair and hit her head."

"She fell out of the chair and her glasses fell off and she dropped," Emily Johnson, 7, added.

"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.


Before Hodges lost consciousness, she made a last-ditch attempt to tell the children to get help but wasn’t sure if they understood. But the kids got the message. Ten students took to the hallways to get help while the remaining two stayed behind to watch over their teacher.

"Some people went and got the other teacher and then we went and got the nurse," said Widener.

The librarian saw the children in the hallway and directed them away from their classroom, unsure of the severity of Hodges' condition. "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.

When Hodges woke up, she was surrounded by teachers and medical personnel. The kids were the only witnesses to the event, so one of them told the paramedics what had happened.

When Hodges arrived at the hospital she learned the seizure was caused by COVID-19, which she didn’t even know she had. After a few days, she recovered from her fall and the illness and she was later able to return to the classroom.

The students were commended for their bravery the next month at a school assembly where they were presented with medals and given a new name, “Hodges' Heroes.”

“There were many heroes that day,” said Cedar Hill Elementary School Principal Glen Garner. “Everyone stepped up that day because that’s what heroes do, but none so more than you. Hodges' Heroes, that’s the class I know.”


After hearing about the students’ bravery, Marvel Studios and Dole teamed up to give the kids a little more hero treatment. A Dole representative came to the school and gave each student hero certificates, Marvel masks, capes and a healthy banana split.

Hodges is glad that she had the seizure when she did. "I think I was in the right place at the right time because had I been home I would have been by myself," she told WUSA9.

“I just thank God every day for them,” Hodges said, according to WHNT.

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