DICKENSON COUNTY, Tenn. - Dreams are taking shape all around Haydee Robinson.
It all started at the age of seven when she and her parents were Cuban refugees. "I came to the United States in 1962. it was right after the Cuban missile crisis, and it was very traumatic in Cuba. [My parents] did not want their children to be raised in a country that was Communist or did not have freedoms. My parents have always taught me that you give back," she said.
Robinson, the Dickenson County, Virginia Schools Superintendent, is the Education award winner in the American Red Cross/WCYB Celebration of Heroes. "My parents are heroes to me," she told us. "What they did, the courage that they had, and so I just reflect that courage."
Not long after taking over as superintendent in 2009, she courageously took on some major issues. "Our schools were located in flood plains. Two of our schools had been flooded," she said.
Finding funds to relocate and build new schools became her urgent passion. Her tenacity paid off, to the tune of over $100 million in grant money. "Never say no, never give up, and believe in what you're doing. The USDA responded, the Army Corps of Engineers responded, and that's when the dream really started," she told us.
Now the dream is well over halfway to coming true. The new school building will not only be home to the new Ridgeview High and Middle Schools, but will also serve the community as an emergency shelter.
It's an inspired project led by a real education hero. "I'm not the hero, but I am surrounded by heroes," Robinson told us. "I think i've realized that there is never just one hero."