Irma Brought Out the Best - former students help teacher

As a teacher at Sacred Heart Catholic School for thirty-one years, Bonny Dube was well known for her control of the classroom and her love of teaching. 

   Over the years,

thousands of students have been fortunate enough to be under her tutelage. Bonny is now in her 8th year as a teacher at St. John’s Episcopal School. 

   Teachers often wonder…have I touched

anyone?

   Little Mazie Palomino sat in her first grade classroom and was in awe of Mrs. Dube.  "She was a tough teacher but I always loved her." recalled Mazie.  

   Sebastian Hurwitz was in 5th grade at Sacred Heart Catholic School when he had Mrs. Dube as his teacher.  Sebastian admits that indeed, he was a little fearful of his teacher.

   Two weeks ago, Hurricane Irma hit Homestead as a force to be reckoned with.   Residents of the area were faced with trees toppled, debris everywhere, no electric or phone and just a mess.  

   For older residents, this presented a problem as they were in no physical condition to get out and move trees or cut them apart where needed.  

   Communication was non-existent after the storm and people worried about others until contact could be made.  Did they make it through the storm safely?  Again, for those without power or phones, this presented a problem.

   That former teacher at Sacred Heart, Bonnie Dube and her husband, were two such residents affected by the storm.  Who could possibly help?

   After Irma, who showed up on Bonny Dube's doorstep to check on her and her husband?  That little girl that Bonny had not seen since the 1980’s...Mazie Palomino.   "I keep in touch with her on Facebook and have found out we have so much in common." Mazie explained.

   Mazie, the mother of 9th grade Mazie and 5th grade Ayden, is now waiting for her license to be issued as a Speech Pathologist.  "I remember that after Andrew it was so hard to get ahold of everyone and find out if people were safe so I wanted to make sure that I got her address to help her if I could."  Bearing a gift of nice, cool ice tea, Mazie immediately sought out her former teacher to make sure she was safe.  When asked why she did it, Mazie explained, "I think it's important that my kids know that we have other responsibilities other than taking care of our own family at home.  I just want to check up on her, but also, sometimes when you see someone that you know, it makes you feel a little better.  All I did was take her some tea and check up on her but it made me happy to be able to do that for her."

   Facing the undaunting task of clearing away huge trees, Bonny reached out to Facebook and a friend re-posted her need for yard help.  Would anyone respond?

   Immediately, former student Sebastian Hurwitz arrived on the Dube’s doorstep with a chain saw, muscles and a friend, Andre Von Bloedau da Silveira.  Sebastian and Andre attacked the fallen trees which included a huge avocado tree.

   Sebastian heard from a friend’s mother that Mrs. Dube needed help.  “Both Andre and I knew we could assist so we just offered to help her.  It’s how we were raised.  Andre is the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back and asks for nothing in return.” stated Sebastian.

   That little boy from 5th grade is now a paramedic who works for Lifeflight and is also a reservist in the military.  Andre works in the IT field.  Bonny heard from Sebastian that he has not been able to come back because he has been deployed to Puerto Rico to help with medical evacuations. 

   When asked how Bonny and her husband felt about the caring students, she stated, “Both brought me hope.  This hurricane really took a toll on me, but these young people showed me that love and caring are still alive.  Two students from long ago came back into my life to say, carry on…we are here for you.”

   Bonny mused, “I have often heard the saying that everyone comes into your life for a reason.  As a teacher, you always hope that you will influence your students in a positive way.  Every year I tell my students the one thing I hope they learn from me is how to be a good person.  Many years ago, two small kids came into my life.  Today, many years later, those two came as young adults to give me the hope to go on.”