Del Valle, TX (KXAN) - Two high school english teachers in Travis County are being credited with saving the life of a ninth grader who suffered a sudden medical problem in class this week.
The two who work together at Del Valle High School , didn't hesitate when their student collapsed on Tuesday morning.
Veteran teacher Penelope Wynns told KXAN she had the student in her arms. "I was talking to the student. The student is someone I'm very close to. And the situation, it deteriorated very quickly, she said."
Wynns was one of three teachers who were in a classroom of ninth graders Tuesday during second period. One of the teens, a girl suddenly reported not feeling well. She asked to go to the restroom. But second year teacher Haley Hobratschk who like Wynns, is first aid and CPR-trained noticed something more.
"She went from being okay to being not okay in like, a minute and it was very hard to understand, oh, that just happened,' Hobratschk said.
She wasted no time in sending one student for help and making a flurry of calls to the assistant principals who called 9-1-1. They brought a phone to Hobratschk so she could advise EMS call-takers on the condition of the girl.
"It wasn't happening fast enough for me. I was trying to run around and get assistant principals and the (school's resource) police officer, I was like ‘Where are they? I need them here now!'" she said.
Penelope Wynns has 20 years' teaching experience, and a medical background. In fact, as the weakening student lay cradled in her arms, she could only offer gestures of reassurance.
"At one point, the student looked at me and asked if they were going to die," she said.
Then, the girl stopped breathing. That prompted Wynns to begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and after a few agonizing seconds, the girl began breathing on her own again.
Wynns told KXAN she recalled a time, in San Francisco years earlier where she saved another student's life in a similar way. And now, was a second seemingly random chance to save young life by being in the right place at the right time.
"In a situation like that, you're not going to let that child die. You're just not, Wynns said. "Luckily at that point we could hear the sirens. That's always the good signal help's on the way."
These teachers turned lifesavers say when paramedics took the student to the hospital, she was sitting up.
Ten minutes after the emotional second period, this duo was back in the classroom. "The kids were very upset, said Hobratschk. (Those) who were very good friends with the student, we had to talk with them about how it was going to be okay, we took care of it."
During the incident, the teachers ushered the kids to another classroom where a teacher could watch over them and keep them busy on computers.
While the school district has yet to publicly announce any plans to honor these teachers, their efforts could be seen as a heroic example of the Del Valle Independent School District's motto: "Whatever It Takes."
Since 2007, Texas Education Code has mandated CPR and Automatic External Defibrillator training for most teachers. Those who must participate in that training and maintain their certification include:
- school nurse and assistant school nurse
- athletic coach or sponsor
- physical education instructor
- marching band director
- drill team director
- cheerleading coach
- student athletic trainers
"You always have that in your back pocket. You hope and you pray you never have to use it, Wynns said. "But you're glad you have that training when that moment comes."
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