Marissa Gourd (left) and Peyton Roach (right) are BCMS sixth graders who sought help for an injured man at the bus stop.
Two Bethlehem Middle School students arrived at school in the usual way on Wednesday, March 1, on their school bus. That morning, however, was anything but routine for the two sixth graders. That’s because while Peyton Roach and Marissa Gourd were waiting for their bus they heard cries for help from an older man who had fallen down near their bus stop and could not get up. Without missing a beat, the two girls sprang into action to make sure the man got the help he desperately needed.
“I wasn’t sure what I was hearing at first, but then I realized there was a man on the ground trying to get my attention,” said Roach. “He was trying to yell out to a jogger but she had headphones on. He said he had been on the ground for a half hour.
“He tried to get up and fell down again so I ran back to my house to get my parents to help,” said Roach.
Marissa saw that the bus was coming but she waited for Peyton and Peyton’s parents, offering words of comfort to the man on the ground.
“I told him help was coming and not to worry,” said Marissa. “Peyton’s parents came pretty quickly.”
The bus driver, Pat Weiss, who was approaching the stop at the same time had already noticed Peyton running back to her house and sensed something was not right. The driver saw the man on the ground and immediately contacted dispatch who notified the police.
Peyton and Marissa boarded the bus before they knew the fate of the gentleman they had helped. Peyton’s parents stayed with the man and the police were eventually able to assist him in getting to his feet. He did not need to be hospitalized.
“On the bus, I was nervous that he might have to go to the hospital,” said Peyton. “I think he is a veteran. He was wearing a veterans’ hat.”
Both girls were surprised that news of their good deed had reached the school not long after they had. Transportation Director Cindy Jurewicz had contacted both district and school administrators to share Peyton and Marissa’s story.
“I commend Marissa and Peyton for demonstrating compassion and good judgment on behalf of a person in need,” said Superintendent Jody Monroe. “They did not ignore this gentleman but instead sought the help of a trusted adult who, along with the bus driver, contacted first responders and got this man some much-needed assistance.
“We strive to include character education as an integral part of learning in Bethlehem,” said Superintendent Jody. “Students like Marissa and Peyton make it easy.”
Middle School Hall Principal Ken Rizzo presented the two girls, both Patroon 1 students, with Eagle awards on Wednesday. Eagle awards recognize and encourage positive values, behaviors, and character among students in all aspects of the community. They are given randomly to students by faculty and staff to students who demonstrate positive behavior, kindness and respect toward others.
“We appreciate that you demonstrated bravery and compassion at the bus stop,” the award reads. “The BCMS community is very proud of you.”