ST. LOUIS — Jean Kuczka will be posthumously honored for her heroism on Saturday.
On Saturday, Kuczka will be posthumously awarded the Single Act of Heroism Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. She is one of five civilians to be awarded by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society in 2023.
Kuczka was a 61-year-old teacher who students say died protecting them from a gunman at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in October.
"Jean Kuczka is selected for her singular act of heroism on October 24, 2022, when she stood in front of her students at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School as a shooter entered her classroom," her award page on the Congressional Medal of Honor Society page said. "Kuczka placed herself between her students and danger, in order to save innocent lives. Kuczka’s courage reflects great credit upon herself, her family, and the state of Missouri."
The Single Act of Heroism Award recognizes Americans who accomplish extraordinary feats of heroism by risking their lives for the benefit of others in dire situations.
Jean’s loved ones said she was a passionate and caring person inside and outside the classroom and they’re determined to continue her legacy.
“My mom was very family oriented. And that same type of environment was instilled in her classroom. My mom played field hockey in high school and she was always a leader,” Jean Kuczka’s daughter Abbey Kuczka said in an October interview.
Friend, bicyclist and former CEO of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Derek Rapp said Jean was an advocate for JDRF.
“Jean was a role model. Jean, as a teacher, she used her riding as a way to raise awareness for type 1 diabetes, and also to help people see that you can go do things, you can go make a difference,” Rapp said in October.
Abbey Kuczka said it means a lot to know her mom truly made a difference for thousands of students over her 38-year teaching career.
“Brings peace of mind to know the impact that she left on this world. And truly, we didn't even know the impact that she had on all of these students until now,” Abbey said.
David Dorn, the retired police captain killed in June of 2020 by people who had broken into Lee’s Pawn & Jewelry, was given the same posthumous honor in 2021.
Click here for the full list of 2023 award winners.