MIDDLETOWN, New Jersey (WABC) -- The first day of school can be an emotional time for students, parents and teachers, including one teacher in New Jersey who is back in the classroom with some new energy, and a new kidney.
Tuesday marked the start of school at St. Leo the Great, and Lauren Crupi couldn't be happier to be back teaching sixth grade language arts.
"It feels amazing to be here on the first day of school," she said. "I feel better than ever."
She's also feeling rejuvenated, not just from the summer break, but from getting a new kidney.
"I didn't know how bad I felt because it was such a gradual decline, but even the day after surgery I perked up and couldn't believe the difference," Crupi said.
She had surgery on June 1 at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and her donor happened to be a fellow teacher, Michael Daneman.
"I figured this would be a great way to help somebody while still alive while I can see the benefits of it myself," Daneman said.
He teaches computer science and knew Crupi needed a kidney because of a genetic mutation. He was a match and had a deep motivation to help.
"My mom passed away when I was 5 years old, and I look at her kids and I think they really need their mom and if I can help keep her around for these kids and keep her healthy, I really want to try that," Daneman said. "So that was actually a huge part of my decision process."
Both recovered in time to return to the school that's been rooting for them.
As teachers they know their experience is ripe with lessons for their students.
"I really hope they learn you can be of service to people and you can give up yourself to help someone make a better life for themselves," Daneman said.
"I hope they take away kindness, being there for each other, never giving up, perseverance and challenges," Crupi said. "I hope they take it all."
The two teachers hope that it will provide life lessons you can't find in a textbook.
Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News