Kindergarten heroes: Caldwell class saves teacher's life, honored by board

Dana Guthrie
Staff Writer

When Caldwell Elementary School teacher Cindy Jones took her kindergarten class to the playground to look for leprechauns and celebrate St. Patricks Day, she had no idea that her students would become her guardian angels.
“Ms. Jones had a little bit of a fall on the playground a couple of weeks ago,” said Caldwell Assistant Principal Jennifer Almond. “Watching the video, we saw all these little heroes come around and jump in, believe it or not, at 5 and 6 years old.”

In honor of St. Patricks Day, the students in Jones’ class were having fun outside on the last day of school before Spring Break searching for the leprechaun who had left little notes to his location all around the playground.
“I got the note off of the slide and turned around and read it and tripped on the barrier and face planted on the concrete,” Jones said.
Jones was knocked unconscious in the accident, along with sustaining a broken nose, busted lip and damaged teeth.
“I don’t remember any of that,” Jones said. “When I woke up, I had blood everywhere.”

Displaying their superhero traits, Jones’ students jumped into action rather than being scared.
“Olivia got my keys from around my neck and went and opened the door,” Jones said. “Several of them ran up to the office and got the nurse and told people in the office.”
Jones said that her other students remained with her to try and make sure that she was OK.

“I have said all long that this is the best kindergarten class I’ve ever had,” Jones said. “That just showed me right there that they really are a super class. They are very responsible and they are kind and care about others. I think that’s the biggest thing."

Jones’ class was honored for its bravery during Monday night’s meeting of the Benton School Board and each student received a Panther Pride Award.

Those students include Archer Ambort, Will Ashley, Colson Hentschel, Sophie Barnard, Marley Mears, Linny Harrison, Beckett Moore, Selah Stevens, Olivia Rook, Brody Finkbeiner, Harper Griffin, Jonathan Dunlap, Layla Waddle, Ayden O’Neal, Ruder Robertson, Korie Holiman, Abigail Smart, Riley White, Austin Spadaro and Eva Harklau.
“They were a good, helpful team for Ms. Jones,” Almond added.