Unsung hero: teacher saves student from suffocation, praised by school district with hero award



WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – What Tricia Toews thought was an ordinary Thursday in her kindergarten class at Forest Hills Global Elementary School was far from it.

“I woke up this morning like it was going to be a normal Thursday, got ready, came to work and we had a really fun morning full of dancing and learning,” Toews said.

And things were normal until lunchtime.

“So I gave them a 10 minute lunch break and we were doing that and I was at my desk eating my lunch too and I just had a feeling something was wrong. It was quiet, but I heard that commotion and that kind of pounding on the desk, ”Toews said.

It was then that Mrs. Toews met the eyes of one of her students, Za’vion Coley, at the back of the class. “I could sort of see him, panic in his eyes. . . and I was like ‘Oh my god are you choking?’ Toews asked as she began to hand him the heimlich.

“I choked on a Dorito,” kindergarten student Za’vion Coley said.

“I turned to him and could almost hear him chew on it and at that point I asked ‘are you still choking?’ and he [shook his head no]. And I just gave him the biggest hug and I felt myself come alive a little bit and I’m so grateful that I was there for that and that he was able to get through that and that I was able to help, ”Toews said. “Your adrenaline is going up so fast and you just make sure you can do whatever you can, so I took another teacher and asked them to cover my room, walked out into the hallway and got him. lost for a minute. “

A life-changing moment for Za’vion and Ms. Toews, as well as the class. Za’vion remembers how scared his classmates were at the time, especially a girl sitting next to him. “’Almost like she’s about to cry; I was about to tell him that everything will be fine, ”Za’vion said.

And luckily, he was fine, because of Mrs. Toews’ heroic actions.

Now Za’vion’s mother doesn’t make crisps for her lunch, just to be on the safe side.

“My teacher saved me. I love him so much. I’m going to give him a hug, ”Za’vion said.

Toews has been praised by her colleagues and the school district as she received a Heroes Award earlier this month.

“I think God kinda watches and puts you in a certain place at a certain time, and that’s sort of fate. I was there for this kid and I’ll be there for any other kid who needs me, ”Toews said.

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