NORTHAMPTON — Ellen Kennedy teaches her JFK Middle School students that they are capable of saving the day, a pursuit which has gotten her the title of 2016 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year from the state Department of Fire Services.
Kennedy was previously a paramedic in Northampton, but her shift in career path led her to become an eighth grade science teacher at the middle school 15 years ago. She now incorporates safety lessons into her curriculum, and they act as an underlying theme in nearly everything she teaches.
“I’m teaching them that you can be the person that saves your family,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy teaches her students the importance of having a family escape plan, the harmful effects of smoke and drugs on the body, how to treat burns, the basics of being a firefighter and how to detect what started a fire.