Support pouring in for East Lyme teacher hurt in crash

Support for East Lyme teacher hurt in crash
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 6:47 PM EDT
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EAST LYME, CT (WFSB) - A veteran East Lyme math teacher is on a long road to recovery after she and her family were involved in a serious car crash.

Stephanie Sojkowski has taught at East Lyme High School for about 15 years. Ask just about any of her students, and they’ll have something positive to say.

“(She is) energetic, fun, she’s a good explainer,” Freshman Ethan Legg said.

Students got the shocking news of Sojkowski’s crash last week.

“I think a lot of times people can forget that teachers are people too and this was a real example of people realizing that,” Legg said. “I don’t think anyone deserves what they’ve been going through.”

Sojkowski and her family were on their way back from a ski trip in Massachusetts when they were hit head-on by a pick-up truck. Police say the driver of the pick-up truck was driving high.

Sojkowski’s husband and kids have all been discharged from the hospital. She remains in a hospital bed with a laundry list of broken bones and bruises. The good news is that she’s alert, she’s talking, texting and aware of what is going on.

Now, the East Lyme community is stepping up to help their beloved teacher out.

“We found MealTrain and it’s this nice website that allows you to set up scheduling so people can deliver food at certain times and has almost like a GoFundMe fundraiser all in one,” said East Lyme High Math Teacher Lauren Machnick. “We posted on the community Facebook page and it kind of spread like wildfire.”

Machnick has worked with Sojkowski for well over a decade.

“You tend to find a person who is your person, and she’s my person,” Machnick said.

The MealTrain has raised nearly $30,000. Teachers also all wore jeans last Friday and donated money to do so. That raised about $1,000.

Students are also helping.

“We’re trying to do a color day or a theme day where we all dress the same way to show our support for Mrs. Sojkowski,” Legg said.

Sojkowski’s students will have a long-term substitute for the rest of the school year.

“It’s a weird feeling,” Machnick said. “You’re so grateful she’s alive but it’s really hard to see her struggling right now.”