“Be who you were created to be and you will set the world on fire.” -St. Catherine of Siena

When Sara and her husband moved to North Dakota, it was supposed to be temporary. But ten years and two career changes later, Dickinson has become home. The change in plans has proved serendipitous for the Rhode’s and for our community.

Driven by a desire to create greater opportunities for young people, Sara has worked tirelessly in the Roughrider Area Career and Technical Center to implement augmented health science student experiences for those in the RACTC Consortium, Southwest Area Career and Technical Education Academy, and Dickinson High School.

Sara has a medical background in respiratory therapy and as an advanced-trained EMT. Five years ago, she transitioned into teaching, finding it a fulfilling joy.

“All I had in high school was anatomy and physiology,” Sara laughs. “To be a part of offering students the chance to leave high school with health science certifications makes this job not a job at all. I look forward to every day!”

As a mom of two young children, Sara values investing in the future generation. Because of her passion and expertise, the program is growing in students and in training specialties. Sara pursues these advancements because she sees the needs and desires to meet them: both the need for industry and for young people to have safe, stable adults building relationships with them.

Sara teaches health science courses, her primary focus being the Emergency Medical Responder class. With the required skills and coursework, students leave high school certified as an EMR: Emergency Medical Responder—the bottom rung of first responders, but an asset to the health of a rural community.

Other health occupation certifications Sara’s efforts have succeeded in offering are CNA, Pharmacy Tech, and Dental Assisting.

Sara was not the only Rhode who found a new calling in Dickinson. Her husband came to the area as a welder and is now the Captain of the Fire Department.

Their collaboration led to the creation of the Fire Academy, where students can graduate with a Firefighter 1 Certification. The students in the current class are from the surrounding area, including Hebron, Beach, and Belfield. But what is extraordinary about this class is that 5 out of the 7 are girls.

Sara is deeply invested in the lives and futures of the young people in our area, motivated by the drive to leave a legacy of opportunity and empowerment for the next generation. Those she works alongside are impressed by her commitment to community, energy, and passion. She values connection and is grateful especially for her fire family she’s found in southwest North Dakota. Her students and all of us are grateful for her!

Kudos is a program of the local nonprofit organization Women Empowering Women. The program recognizes the good work women do. These are women who’ve lived quietly, joyfully, or creatively to influence our lives. They are an inspiration and deserve to be recognized for their efforts and impact. Women Empowering Women is dedicated to the collaboration of women to meet needs and help women become the best versions of themselves. To learn more, see wewnetwork.org