When a South Carolina school teacher was driving home after a long day in the classroom, she never imagined the trajectory her evening would take.
And it all started when she spotted someone she recognized in the middle of the road.
As the teacher approached, she realized it was one of her students.
However, she found it strange that he was cycling all by himself in the middle of the road. However, after pulling over she began to realize something was very wrong.
Calling out to the student, the teacher’s inquiry soon turned into an urgent need for medical care.
You won’t believe this story of one teacher’s commitment to her student and how she ultimately changed his life for the better. We hope you have some tissues.
Keller Sutherland has a strong commitment to her students.
Ever since she became a school teacher, she has made it her mission to impact her students’ lives and their overall happiness. While teaching can be a tough job balancing the school’s requirements and her students’ needs, Sutherland is always up to the challenge.
For Sutherland, being a teacher goes beyond the classroom. It’s her goal to enrich their lives 24/7 and prepare them for the future.
“When I see myself as a teacher, I just go far beyond the classroom. I truly care for these kids.”.
Part of what makes Sutherland connect with students so well is the fact she’s a mother herself.
She understands how teachers spend more time with children than parents do. Therefore, it’s crucial that teachers take the time to invest in both the intellectual and emotional development of their students.
Sutherland has the pleasure of teaching at Ellen Woodside Elementary located in Pelzer, South Carolina.
With students in grades K-5, the school is known for its robust programs and student offerings, providing the tools needed for success.
Thanks to local grants and donations, the facilities at Ellen Woodside Elementary offer a plethora of amenities for its students.
From an automated media center with over 15,000 reading materials to classrooms equipped with state of the art computers. There’s also an expansive outdoor play area, gymnasium and computer labs with iPad access.
There are many school programs designed to tap into the students potential.
Not only are their fitness classes and the school choir, but the elementary school also offers literary clubs and creative writing programs. Additional tutoring is also a priority to help with struggling students so they don’t fall behind.
Over the years, Ellen Woodside Elementary has won multiple awards from the school district. They’ve won the Exemplary Writing School Award and have always been named as a Safe Kids Schools.
The staff is also lucky to have five teachers that are National Board-certified. To say that this school strives for academic excellence would be an understatement.
The vision for Ellen Woodside Elementary is simple: keep the students first.
It’s about creating a positive learning environment that challenges the children and helps them achieve personal and academic success. For Sutherland, the mission rang true to her beliefs not only as a teacher but as a mother.
Sutherland loved that her school was focused on not only fostering academic intelligence but equipping students with the ability to tackle real-life problems through essential life lessons.
According to the school’s website: “Students should be provided with a curriculum that is founded on basic skills, is relevant and incorporates real-life experiences and is enriched with higher-order thinking and problem-solving.”.
Sutherland loves her school’s mission and would soon discover that real-life lessons weren’t just for the students.
It would be in February 2019 as the teacher was driving home from school, that she would notice something very strange on the highway. Sutherland had no idea she was about to be tested in ways she never could have imagined.
Unfortunately, Sutherland’s day had not been going well.
Detailing the events leading up to her alarming interaction with a student, she wrote: “Leading up to this moment was a day that just didn’t seem to be going well. It was a day that seemed like I wasn’t making a difference with my students – a day I felt like I was failing at everything.”.
“As I left work, I looked forward to going home and resting.
I simply texted a few friends and asked for prayer!” Kelly explained. However, she would soon find out that her day had other plans and rest was not one of them.
As Sutherland drove home, she quickly made a call to her husband hoping to take her mind off her stressful day.
During this time, the teacher noticed a young boy riding his bike alongside the highway. At first, she didn’t think much of it; however, she then noticed he was cycling very erratically near the cars. What could be going on?
Sutherland was concerned about the situation and told her husband about the small child riding his bike down the road. Since it was such a busy highway, she knew the danger of a young child riding in and out of traffic.
After passing the child, Sutherland decided to turn around and check up on him. She told her husband she would be late and quickly turned the car around right there on the highway, driving back toward the boy.
Approaching the young child, Sutherland realized he was a student from the previous year.
His name was Cameron Simoncic and had been in her class. However, the questioned remained: what was he doing alone on the busy highway?
“I immediately pulled up, rolled down the window, and I just asked him, ‘Cameron, what are you doing here in the road.
There’s heavy traffic. What are you doing?’” Unfortunately, his vague response did not provide the answers the teacher was seeking, it only triggered more cause for alarm.
According to Sutherland, Cameron was peddling in a very terrified manner.
And while he came to a stop when he noticed Sutherland, what he was saying didn’t make much sense. According to Sutherland, he was rambling about going to his grandmother’s house, but something didn’t feel right about the situation.
According to Sutherland, she knew the type of student Cameron was and his character. He wasn’t the type of child to just go off on his own.
“I knew that he followed directions. He wasn’t a child who would just leave the house riding his bike in heavy traffic,” she told the local media.
Sutherland decided to continue to question Cameron and asked him if his father knew he had left his house.
When he told her no, she knew something was definitely not right about what was going on. Therefore, through gentle questioning, Cameron soon began to open up to his former teacher.
Cameron revealed that he had gone to school and gone home like any other day, but noticed something was very wrong when his father didn’t greet him at the door.
It was then he discovered a terrifying situation in the kitchen….
Cameron’s father was on the ground and unconscious. Thankfully, he knew what to do because of his father’s medical condition.
According to Cameron, his father had diabetes and had passed out due to his need for insulin. Unfortunately, there was a problem….
When Cameron went to use his father’s cell phone to call 911, the screen was locked. Not knowing what to do, he immediately went out to find help.
However, none of his neighbors were home at the time. Realizing his father was in danger, he continued to press on. He knew he needed to get help ASAP.
The only other place that Cameron knew he could go was his grandmother’s.
The only downside to this was she lived five miles away and he would have to take the busy highway. Despite the risk, Cameron took off on his bike anyway to save his dad’s life.
Thankfully, Sutherland had stumbled upon Cameron just in time as he wove in and out through the four lanes of heavy commuter traffic.
And thanks to her instincts, she had stopped to check on him. As Sutherland comforted Cameron, two other cars stopped to check on them and called the emergency services for his father.
After giving the paramedics and firemen his address, the emergency crew raced to the scene.
The first responders were able to reach his home just in time and administer the insulin injection his father so desperately needed. Talk about arriving in the nick of time!
Sutherland praised Cameron for his bravery in the situation and his ability to keep calm while facing such a challenging moment.
She was also happy he had passed by when he did. Sutherland was also praised for going above and beyond as a teacher, stopping for the student when it was well after the workday.
At the end of the day, Sutherland believed her interaction was all part of a divine plan. “As I left work that day, I looked forward to going home and resting, but God had a different plan, and I’m so glad He did.
He showed me teaching goes far beyond the classroom and that what we do for our students outside the classroom is way more important.” We’re just thankful for amazing teachers like her. Keep up the amazing work!