An East High School science teacher is helping to change lives in her classroom and save lives outside it.


Mary Ziemba heads the only emergency trauma technician class in the Anchorage School District. KTVA’s Teacher of the Week is also a certified EMT.


“I love emergency medicine, but I’m a teacher,” Ziemba explained. “I’m a teacher who teaches emergency medicine.”


From bandaging and splinting to CPR and mastering the Kendrick extrication device, her students learn a variety of lifesaving techniques.


“I love her, she’s my favorite teacher of all,” said East High School senior Darvin Valdez. “She teaches you what you need to know in life. She teaches you how to save lives, how to live life.”


Ziemba says living life and saving lives requires some of the same emotional abilities: compassion and confidence.


“Little by little they gain skills and when they do that they gain confidence and in an emergency situation, whether it’s a heart attack, a stroke, a car accident, a bike accident on the trail, I want them to have the confidence to approach the situation,” Ziemba said. “Call 911. Take the right precautions. Take care of themselves, then take care of their patient.”


Thanks to her teaching, Valdez used his compassion and confidence to save the life of a young boy last month. He says a woman called for help at a local hotel.


“Got to her room, there’s a 4-year-old boy, just out. About 10 to 12 compressions he came back and he started crying and wailing and he was all fine and good to go,” Valdez explained.


Another student, senior Alize Caradine, already has a job lined up at Providence Hospital, after she earned her CNA certificate at the King Career Center.


“She [Ziemba] helped me get there,” Caradine said. “She let me climb that ladder. I started in her class when I was a sophomore and now I’m a senior and now I’m a nursing assistant.”


When asked what the secret to her success is, Ziemba said she doesn’t necessarily think of herself as a success.


“I just do something I love to do,” she said.



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