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Sadie Riel – Granite Technical Institute

• This year, our son Luke took a yearlong EMT course through the GTI program from Sadie Riel. It was his senior year and unfortunately his anxiety and depression reared up. He attempted to take his own life, crushing all of us. After four long days in ICU and a weeklong trip to a treatment center, our son tried to regain a grip on his bearings for the last two months of school. He kept mentioning his EMT class and how he had worked too long and hard to give up now, but he worried he had missed his opportunity after losing two weeks of work. This is where we first met Sadie. She reached out to me in a caring email, asking about our son and how she could help. She proposed the idea that if he might be willing to share his story, that she and her students could write encouraging letters for his recovery. Our son gave the go-ahead and Sadie printed off 80 individual cards for him with students’ heartfelt inspiration on each one. My husband and I cried as we read the cards before delivering them to our son in the hospital. Sadie let us know, and we saw with our own eyes, that other students had suffered with issues similar to our son’s. He turned out to be the sixth one of her students, just in that year, who had tried to take their own precious lives. None of them knew one another, it was just a tragic coincidence. Starting back to school was a challenge, to say the least. Our sweet son had lost eighteen pounds and struggled to get out of bed. He would barely make it to his classes, knowing he couldn’t take a short cut in learning how to save lives in his EMT class. Sadie met with us to set up a game plan to reach certification. She followed through and stayed late, provided countless opportunities for him to turn in assignments, pass off assessments, you name it, she was there for him. Her end goal was to help our son reach the finish line, knowing he had worked hard with much support along the way. Her encouragement helped him stay up into the wee hours of the night, just to make this happen. Sadie lit the fire within him. She saw past his plight, his insecurities, doubts, and weeks of make-up work. She went the distance no other teacher had gone before in our son’s twelve years of schooling. At graduation, seeing the amount of other students who she inspired blew us away. Countless students across the Granite School District spoke to honor her devotion and passion to help each of them succeed in learning how to save lives, and to point them in the direction of their future endeavors. By never giving up on our son, Sadie Riel, not only taught him how to save lives in a classroom setting, she put her lessons into action by helping him save his own life emotionally. A true life-saver in and out of the classroom. We love you, Ms. Riel.