A middle school teacher and mother of four lost her life trying to save her 9-year-old daughter from drowning on Labor Day. Sarah Jackson entered a Georgia lake and did not survive, though her daughter made it out alive.
Sarah, 45, formerly a special education teacher at Duluth Middle School, rushed into the water at Tribble Mill Park in Lawrenceville when she saw her daughter in trouble. Bystanders were able to perform CPR on the young girl after she was rescued, reports 11 Alive.
The mother was also retrieved from the water but was unable to be revived. Sarah died at the hospital.
Sarah’s brother, James Jackson, shared the tragedy on a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for her surviving children.
Sarah’s eldest child mourned tearfully during her mother’s final moments in the hospital room, James recalled. “The doctors told her that there was nothing more they could do,” he said. James is now taking care of his four nieces.
He and his sister both faced adversity since early childhood, as their mother died when Sarah was 2 years old.
Later as a young mom, Sarah was briefly homeless during her college years at Georgia Gwinnett College.
After recovering financially and dedicating herself to her chosen profession as a teacher, she worked hard to provide for her four daughters, now aged 9, 11, 13, and 20.
James surmised that she wouldn’t have lost her life that day had it not been for another traumatic incident a day earlier when Sarah was robbed at gunpoint by three masked armed men in Atlanta who stopped her car and stole her purse and cell phone.
As a result, the mother’s plan to take her children to Savannah for Labor Day fell through. Unable to make the trip without cash, credit cards, or identification, the family went to the lake at Lawrenceville instead.
Duluth Middle School shared a Facebook post in memory of their lost teacher on Sept. 10, captioned:
“The Duluth Middle School family is grieving the tragic and sudden loss of one of our wonderful teachers, Ms. Sarah Jackson. Ms. Jackson was a gift to our students. She leaves behind four daughters, three of whom attend Duluth Cluster schools. Please keep this family, and our students and staff, in your prayers.🐾💜”
In May 2013, Sarah delivered a speech at Georgia Gwinnett College’s spring commencement ceremony where she talked frankly about being a homeless single mom while trying to finish her degree.
“One of my daughters was extremely sick at the time,” she said. “She was in and out of the hospital for three years and required 24-hour care.”
The family of five ended up in a homeless shelter program, but Sarah finished her degree on a scholarship.
“School was one of the main driving forces for me during this difficult and humbling experience,” she added, “because I knew completing my education would open the door to a career that would ultimately create financial stability, and change the quality of life for my family.”
“Sarah is a hero on so many levels,” said James.
We would love to hear your stories! You can share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org