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Castlio Elementary teacher saves choking student

By: Jessica Meszaros


Teachers can play an important role in students’ lives. In some cases, like the case of Castlio Elementary teacher Kaitlin Howard, they may even save a student’s life.

Kaitlin Howard and Henry Lilienthal of Castlio Elementary.

It was during snack time on April 15 when 5-year-old Henry Lilienthal approached Howard.

“I was at my desk when [Henry] walked up and pointed to his throat,” Howard said.

When Henry communicated that he couldn’t talk or breathe with head nods, Howard immediately performed the Heimlich Maneuver on him.

“I did it maybe five or six times and then watermelon came flying out of his mouth,” Howard said.

According to Henry, “I felt kind of bad and sad and I walked up to Miss Howard. She pushed on my tummy and then it was alright.”

Howard said she made sure to stay calm throughout the situation.

“I had CPR training before, but part of it was just instinct,” Howard said. “There is not a moment to waste in that situation.”

Howard also made sure Henry was examined by the school nurse afterward.

“Our school prides itself on being a caring and compassionate community,” Principal Tim Scholle said. “Kaitlin fits right in. She saw an issue and didn’t fail to act. She knew what she had to do. It just speaks to the quality of teachers we have here at Castlio.”

Howard was grateful that she was able to help her student.

“I think it’s important as an educator that you’re not only teaching your kids every day, but you’re keeping them safe,” Howard said.

Henry and his family surprised Howard with flowers and a card later that week, with a message saying, “Thank you, Miss Howard, for saving my life.”

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