LAWRENCE, Indiana — So often, words are left unspoken. People never get around to saying how much they appreciate someone.
Not so for Susan Jordan, the principal at an Indiana elementary school, who died saving the lives of her students Tuesday.
While she was hailed as heroic after her death for the way she sacrificed herself to save others, Jordan knew in life how much she was truly admired.
Last May, the students and staff at Amy Beverland Elementary School told her exactly how they felt about her in a video.
“Thank you Mrs. Jordan so much for all that you do,” begins the 11-minute tribute to the strains of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
The longtime educator was a fixture at the school, spending more than two decades there as principal.
It’s the reason Adam Baker moved his family to Lawrence Township, northeast of Indianapolis.
“It was for all the good things we had heard about Principal Jordan and everything that was going on (there),” he told CNN affiliate WXIN.
Her last act came at the end of school on Tuesday. Jordan was helping load kids for ride home, when one of the buses suddenly jumped the curb.
The bus driver told firefighters that she’s not sure why the bus the lurched forward, but that she saw Jordan push several students out of the way, according to Rita Reith with the Indianapolis Fire Department.
“They just loved her,” she said. “Up to the minute she was alive, she was helping the kids.”
The students she saved, both 10, were taken to a hospital in serious condition, but with non-life-threatening injuries.
The Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township, which is near Indianapolis, announced it would not hold classes Wednesday as the community mourns Jordan’s loss.
‘An amazing educator’
The school board released a statement praising Jordan and everything she gave to her community.
“Susan was an amazing educator. She had a remarkable way of making everyone she came in contact with feel valued and important,” it read.
“She had a passion for children that is unmatched. The entire Lawrence Township Community mourns her loss and extends our sympathy to the Amy Beverland Community the multitudes of people whose lives she touched.”
But its the video that really pulls at the heartstrings following Jordan’s death. It seems the whole school takes part.
“She is everything I want to be when I grow up,” says one adult woman. “She is kind. She’s caring. She’s compassionate. She’s loving. She’s sincere, and she’s a professional. She makes all of us want to be even better.”
Says another woman: “She’s the definition of wonderful.”
And then there’s the kids.
What does Jordan stand for?
J — is for joyful to be around.
O — is for organized in all you do.
R — is for radiant, because you, Mrs. Jordan, are radiant.
D — is for demanding because you demand we do our best everyday.
A — is for awesome because you’re an awesome principal.
N — is for nice because you’re always nice to work with.
The video ends with: “We love you Mrs. Jordan! …Thank you for the many years of leadership!”
Through the children and staff at the school, her legacy will certainly live on.