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Palm Beach Gardens teacher honored for saving student’s life

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 4:11 PM EDT
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A South Florida high school teacher is being hailed a hero following a dramatic rescue.

Inside William T. Dwyer Community High School in Palm Beach Gardens, Khamisi Guadalupe is doing what she loves. That's teaching lessons in reading, a position she's held here for more than a decade.

But in January, her students were taught a different kind of lesson, one that wasn't planned or on the agenda.

In the middle of a lecture, one of her students started choking on a piece of gum.

"And once he went that way, I just ran over. And while he was still sitting, I pull him out of the chair," Guadalupe said. "No movement. As I'm doing abdominal thrust, you can hear a pin drop in the room. Not a single movement."

After three to four attempts of the Heimlich maneuver, the student slowly started to breathe again.

"She is indeed a hero, yes," teacher Lisa Cox said.

Guadalupe's heroic efforts were recognized Thursday as she was honored with a Citizen's Life Saving Award by Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue and the mayor.

"She didn't stop until that blockage came out, so I stand in awe of her," Cox said.

The surprise left Guadalupe in tears. While she was grateful for the accolade, Guadalupe said she credits the schools district's mandatory CPR training she received 12 years ago.

"What teacher wouldn't do that?" Guadalupe said. "I feel like it's a very teacherly thing to do. There's not a teacher I know that would not jump in to action, so I just feel like it's part of the job."

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