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Buffalo Way

Local teacher saves lives now saving education

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Buffalo Way

Michael Beck, Writer

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When you think of a teacher, you think of an average joe, who has probably never done anything exciting. However, if you take a closer look at Ms. Sookdeo, a first year teacher at the Villages High School, you might retract that statement.

Ms. Sookdeo has done many notable things in her life, all while juggling motherhood, two jobs, and schooling. One of the more extraordinary things she has experienced happened in New York City on September 11, 2001.

On that fateful day, Sookdeo was working as an EMT in New Jersey when the Twin Towers were struck by rogue planes. What started as a normal day for Sookdeo, resulted in her risking her life for the sake of others.

“It was a pretty scary day, where, to be young and to go into work and to be told you don’t know if you’re going home or when you’ll see your family,” said Ms. Sookdeo.

While the scale of this event was much larger than normal, Sookdeo said that she and her fellow EMTs worked through the shock of the event and treated each call as if it were a normal day.

“We were covering the city, still responding to 911 calls, and just helping out at the hospital,” said Ms. Sookdeo. “Again, it was just business as usual, you know answering and responding to 911 calls, regardless of the events that were going on as well.”

While Ms. Sookdeo doesn’t see her role that day as being a heroic act, others who know her would disagree.

“I see her as more of a role model than just your average teacher who you may not respect as much because you just look at them as a boring teacher who’s teaching you something that you don’t really care about,” said freshman, Allyson Hicks. “Knowing that she helped save lives and other stuff like that it makes her more respectable and you look up to her as an important figure.”

While role models may seem larger than life, they are really just humans who hold a lot more on their shoulders than you may realize.

“I definitely hold more respect knowing that she juggles her everyday life and then she juggles what happened on that day,” said freshman, Madison Van Gorder.

While Ms. Sookdeo spends Monday through Friday in the classroom, she still works a part-time job at the hospital on the weekends. She hopes to inspire kids to reach their full potential both in and out of the classroom.

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