CUTLER BAY, Florida. – A South Florida teacher died a hero this weekend saving her son from drowning in El Salvador.
Michelle Vargas has been a special needs teacher for the past 18 years and for the past nine years has worked at Cutler Bay Middle School as a special needs teacher.
Loved ones, staff, parents and students are devastated after learning of the sudden loss.
“We feel very bad and confused,” said parent Maylin Hilton. “She was a good teacher. He was a good person and all the children loved him.
Local 10 News has learned that Vargas was in El Salvador over the weekend, celebrating his birthday with his autistic son.
Unfortunately, it was on a trip to the beach that her son wandered into a rip current.
Vargas jumped in to save him, and although she was able to save her son, she unfortunately lost her life in the process.
The principal of Cutler Bay Middle School said Vargas was an incredible teacher, but an even more incredible mother.
“Michelle gave her life for her son,” said Ignacio Rodriguez.
A statement from Miami-Dade Public Schools read, “We are devastated to learn of the tragic loss of a beloved and respected teacher who impacted the lives of students at Cutler Bay Middle School for nearly a year. decade. From all of us at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, we send our deepest condolences to the Vargas family during this difficult time.
“Michelle Vargas was an amazing teacher,” Rodriguez said. “She was an advocate for children, she was a specialist teacher who worked with the most needy students and she had this ability to connect with the students.”
Another colleague, teacher Andres Rodriguez, said Vargas’ heroism didn’t surprise him.
“It doesn’t surprise me how she left us, saving her son, because she would do it a thousand times if she could,” he said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to bring Vargas’ body back to the United States from El Salvador, as well as help with funeral costs and to help care for his son.
According to the GoFundMe page, Vargas died on her birthday, Saturday.
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