(from L-R) Mackenzie Anderson and Niousline Michel
A student at Howitt Middle School in Farmingdale saved the life of a classmate by performing the Heimlich Maneuver.
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Mackenzie Anderson and Niousline Michel ate lunch during the fifth period on Tuesday, February 14th. It was days before winter recess, and both girls looked forward to a long break from tests and homework. Mackenzie and Niousline had attended Saltzman East Memorial and were friends before entering Howitt Middle School this past fall. As Mackenzie ate her lunch, she locked eyes with Nisouline, who had started banging on the table with a panic-stricken look. Several friends jumped, yelled, and waved their arms to alert the lunch monitors of the situation. Mackenzie worried her friend couldn’t breathe and didn’t wait for help to arrive.
“We have to do something,” said Mackenzie Anderson. “I tried my best to perform the Heimlich Maneuver, and when I saw the food shoot from her mouth, I got excited. I did it!”
Niousline’s airway was cleared, and her breathing returned to normal. A piece of a churro was the culprit. Lunch monitors were by Niousline’s side in seconds to check on her as the cafeteria erupted into cheers for Mackenzie’s heroic efforts.
“She saved my life,” said Niousline Michel. “I was laughing and eating, then suddenly, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I was so scared.”
The Heimlich Hero program was taught to all Howitt Middle School students during health class earlier this school year. Students watched a fifteen-minute video that taught them how to recognize the signs of choking and respond with the Heimlich Maneuver. Students were paying attention. This is the second Howitt Heimlich Hero Farmingdale has had this school year.
“Regardless of a student's age, size, or strength, they can successfully dislodge an item from someone's throat when choking and save a life,” said Cheryl DePierro. “ I am so proud of all our students who took the training seriously, and I am especially proud of Mackenzie and Niousline for remembering exactly what to do in an emergency.”