cutler bay, florida – A South Florida teacher died heroically over the weekend while saving his son from drowning in El Salvador.
Michelle Vargas has been a special needs teacher for the past 18 years and for the past 9 years she has worked as a special needs teacher at Cutler Bay Middle School.
Relatives, staff, parents and students are devastated to learn of his sudden death.
“We are so upset and confused,” said parent Meyrin Hilton.
Local 10 News learned that Vargas was in El Salvador over the weekend celebrating his birthday with his autistic son.
Unfortunately, it was during a trip to the beach that her son got lost in a rip current.
Vargas jumped in to save him, and she was able to save her son, but sadly lost her life in the process.
The principal of Cutler Bay Middle School said Vargas was a great instructor, but she was an even better mother.
“Michelle gave up her life for her son,” said Ignacio Rodriguez.
A statement from Miami-Dade Public Schools said, “We are devastated to learn of the tragic loss of a beloved and respected teacher who has impacted the lives of students at Cutler Bay Middle School for nearly a decade. From everyone at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, our deepest condolences to the Vargas family during this difficult time.”
“Michelle Vargas was a great teacher,” said Rodriguez. “She was an advocate for children. She was a special education teacher and had the ability to work with the most needy students and connect with her students.”
Another colleague and teacher, Andrés Rodriguez, said Vargas’ heroism didn’t surprise him.
“The way she saved her son and left us doesn’t surprise me because she would do it thousands of times if she could,” he said.
a GoFundMe page It was established to bring Vargas’ body back from El Salvador to the United States to help with funeral expenses and care for his son.
Vargas died Saturday on his birthday, according to his GoFundMe page.
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