A Michigan first-grade teacher was recognized for saving her student's grandmother, who had a stroke during her online class.
Julia Koch teaches at Edgewood Elementary School; she was in the middle of her online class last September 22, 2020, when the grandparent of one of her students called. Cynthia Phillips told Koch that she was having difficulty charging her granddaughter's school tablet, CNN report noted.
Koch noticed that something was off
However, apart from the technical issue, Koch noticed that something was off with Phillips' voice. Judging from Phillips' jumbled speech, Koch said it was clear that something was very wrong, and the grandmother didn't sound herself. Even though she wasn't sure what was wrong, she knew she needed to call help. And so she immediately contacted the school's principal, Charlie Lovelady.
Lovelady, who has lost his father from a stroke, was quick to recognize the symptoms of a stroke, and he immediately called 911 while Phillips was on the other line. Lovelady said that when he asked Phillips if she was alright, she kept stumbling with her words, and then it got worse by the minute.
He told Phillips to hold on as help is on the way. Lovelady then asked two staff members to drive to Phillips' house to check up on her and the children while the ambulance is on its way.
Medics then rushed Phillips to the hospital, where she remains under medical care. Phillips told Wood TV8 that she recently was able to stand on her own. She also thanked the school staff members for saving her life.
The teacher was "quick to get me help."
Speaking to CNN, Phillips said that if it weren't for the teacher who was quick to get her help, she would have died. She said that her experience made her close to the principal, staff, and even the secretary, who immediately connected her with the principal. They all made sure that she was okay, she said. She said she thanks God that she "didn't die in front of my kids."
Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System Superintendent Rané Garcia told CNN how proud she was of both Ms. Koch and Mr. Lovelady. She said that their quick actions and the energy they have poured into relationships with students and families make a positive difference in their lives.
To be a good teacher and not truly care would be hard
Koch said that one couldn't truly be a good teacher and not care about his/her students and their families, especially in the environment that they are in. She said it is hard to do it without truly caring, which is what she has learned from all that has happened. She said that it is important to be part of a community that cares.
Lovelady told CNN that he was blown away by the staff's quick reaction and how they worked together to save Phillips' life. He is a very, very proud principal, he added.
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