12-Year-Old Rescues Classmate Struggling to Swim During Class Field Trip: 'I’ve Got to Help Him'

“I jumped in and swam to him," Alex Dupuis said

<p>WPRI/YoutTube</p> Alex Dupuis (left) with his parents Lisa Beausoleil and Matt Dupuis


Alex Dupuis (left) with his parents Lisa Beausoleil and Matt Dupuis

A local Rhode Island middle school student turned into a hero when his quick instincts saved a fellow classmate from an emergency in the water that could have turned tragic.

On June 13, Alex Dupuis, 12, was on a class field trip to Spring Lake Beach in Burrillville, R.I., when he noticed his classmate was in the water struggling to swim and keep himself afloat. Upon recognizing the issue, the sixth grader rushed into action to help. “I was just thinking, ‘I’ve got to help him,’ ” Dupuis told local outlet NRI NOW.

The Burrillville Middle School student, whose parents, Matt Dupuis and Lisa Beausoleil, are both first responders with the Pascoag Fire Department, knew what to do immediately and quickly swam out to his classmate. “I jumped in and swam to him. He grabbed onto me and I went underwater, but I was able to get us back up,” Dupuis recalled of the panicked moment to CBS affiliate WPRI-TV.

Representatives from the Burrillville School District did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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After helping his classmate from going under, Dupuis stayed with the student until lifeguards arrived to take them both back to shore. In a post on Facebook, the Pascoag Fire Department praised Dupuis’s courage. “We are so proud of this young man, who we have watched grow up in our firehouse. We are happy to have him as a member of our Pascoag Fire Family!,” their statement read.

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After the incident, Dupuis kept the courageous act to himself, as WPRI-TV reported that his parents only found out via a school email. His father said his son’s actions “speaks volumes to the type of person he is.”

As for how he feels about being seen as a local hero, Dupuis told WPRI-TV, “I don’t really think of myself as a hero. I know a lot of first responders save people every day and anyone could have done what I did.”

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