Dziedzic admits she started to first panic when parents began picking up students from school prior to the tornado.
“That was one of the initial things that caused me to panic was the vibe I was getting from the parents. People were frantic. That was my first tip-off,” Dziedzic said. “I was scared but it was kind of like, I share the analogy of a roller coaster, it kept feeling more and more serious. And as I started to question how this was going to turn out, I just thought ‘Don’t let on. The worst things you could do is let on to the kids to know that you are scared.’ And they were really pretty calm until the point we went into the bathroom. I felt bad for losing control, but it was kind of like being at the top of that roller coaster and I felt I wasn’t in control at that point and I was just hanging on, hoping for the best.”
Over the summer, Dziedzic has had a chance to keep up with her students, their families and her fellow teachers. Healing from the events of May 20 also have been difficult for the single mom as she’s tried to rebuild her teacher supply cabinet. But, through dark always comes light.
Beginning Friday, a new chapter in Dziedzic’s life, and the rest of the community of Briarwood Elementary School, will begin. The first day of school is always a challenge but this year will be an even bigger one as Briarwood’s classes will be held at Emmaus Baptist Church, 16001 S. Western Ave.
“I’m truly excited about this year. I know the fourth-graders that I will be getting went through something really traumatic.
“We feel really fortunate to have the location because we could be scattered all throughout the district. Anyone would be sympathetic, but people wanting to understand and truly understanding are two different things,” Dziedzic said.