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Kerstin Riggenbach: Lean Into It!

Riggenbach, PRHS math teacher, recounted a moment during the first week of school after she transferred to Cal Poly. During a lecture, a girl next to her whispered a question, and as Riggenbach leaned over to hear her better, Riggenbach’s chair and the attached table tipped and she fell onto the floor.

“I kept leaning over and the whole desk tipped over on its side,” Riggenbach said. “To make matters worse, my binder was open and the rings were open and the papers went flying all over the place! They were scattered around on the floor.”

Riggenbach’s classmates helped her up and gathered her papers.

“Everybody kind of smooshes all the papers together and puts them on my desk and I sit there and I’m just horrified and embarrassed, and then I actually kind of start to laugh,” Riggenbach said.

Then her classmates and even professor started to laugh.

“Everybody in the class starts cracking up and laughing and the professor says ‘Fine. We can’t continue. Class is canceled,’” Riggenbach said.

However, Riggenbach made a lifelong friend from this experience when a girl sympathized with her and asked to study together.

“That actually started a friendship that lasted all through college and all through our adult lives and we share stories with each other about our children and our husbands to this day,” Riggenbach said.


Katelynn Lamb: To the Rescue!

At the age of about 19, Katelynn Lamb, PRHS science teacher, had her first job as a lifeguard. Driving home one day, she saw a truck in front of her go off the road. 

“I didn’t know what had happened but there was dust everywhere and I knew that it was some kind of emergency,” Lamb recalled.

Since she had trained in first aid and first responder protocol, Lamb pulled over to see if she could help. The truck had flipped onto its side and someone had pulled the driver out, so Lamb talked to him to try to keep him from going into shock.

“[The driver] starts to lose consciousness. He goes into a seizure. So I’m sitting with him, talking with him, making sure that I can bring him back into consciousness once he comes to after his seizure,” Lamb said.

Once his seizure stopped, Lamb sprinted back to her car to grab a sleeping bag to cover the man with. On the way, she rolled her ankle but didn’t notice because of adrenaline. 

After EMS arrived and took her witness statement, Lamb drove home and her adrenaline begun leaving her system.

“I start to get out of my car to go home and I tell my mom, I said ‘I need to go to the doctor.’ So I ended up in the emergency room right next to the man that I helped in the car accident and his mother came and talked to me and actually said that one of the EMS personell, one of the drivers of the ambulance, said that I helped to prevent him from dying because you can actually die from going into shock,” Lamb said

The driver came to shake Lamb’s hand and while he walked away from his accident, Lamb had to get a cast for her ankle.

“It just goes to show that all of those skills that you learn can come in handy even outside of your career and you can actually help save somebody’s life,” Lamb said.


Gaylene Ewing: This betta be a good one

The week before AP Biology and G.E.O. teacher Gaylene Ewing’s first day of teaching, she stayed up late setting up a lab using betta fish for her AP Biology class of 18 students.

“I was super excited to design this hands-on lab so the students could come in right away and start doing science and get excited about living things….Betta fish are really cool because they respond to stimuli,” Ewing said.

When she got to class, all of her fish had died.

“They were like completely dead and I was like ‘Ahhhh! What do I do!?” So luckily I had a prep period before I had my AP Bio students coming in so my first prep period of my first day of school I ran to [a pet store]. I had this bag of dead fish and I was like ‘I need more fish.’ So I got some fish and it worked out but it was just really crappy to have them all be dead…and I also felt bad for the fish because clearly I had done something wrong and that’s why they died,” Ewing said.

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