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Cato Elementary teacher saves student from choking
Cato Elementary teacher saves student from choking
Friday, October 25, 2019

It's no secret teachers play a big role in students' lives. Some even save student's lives.

Last Friday, Cato Elementary School second-grader Evan Bartele was at lunch when he started choking on a piece of granola.

His teacher Wendy Sanabria sprung into action before things could've turned deadly.

Cato School Hero

"I think it was a God thing," she said. "He put me where he wanted me."

Evan was unable to breathe. Ms. Sanabria raced to his side and administered first aid.

"I patted him on the back and nothing happened, so I performed the Heimlich several times before it came out," she said.

Sanabria learned the Heimlich many years ago.

It's a skill Evan's mother Jessica Bartele is grateful she knew.

"I was scared," Bartele said. "I don't know if you can describe how it feels when you get that call, but I knew he was in good hands."

Evan is grateful too.

"This is the picture Evan drew me," Sanabria said. "'It says thanks for saving my life.'"

The school community is hailing her a hero, but Sanabria says she was just doing the right thing.

"I feel like I did what anyone would have done in that situation," she said. " I just think I did what needed to be done to help a child."

Evan's mother says she hopes the incident will inspire more teachers to learn first-aid.

It is not required for Pulaski County School District teachers to learn first-aid, but the district offers courses for faculty members periodically.