Thank you, Miss Howard, For Saving My Life

Posted on 05/02/2019
Castlio teacher Kailtin Howard with student Henry Lilienthal


Teachers play an important role in our students’ lives every day. They teach them about world history, show them how to solve that difficult math problem, and prepare them for their dream job when they grow up. They impact a student’s life in countless ways and in some cases, like Castlio teacher Kaitlin Howard, they might actually save a student’s life one day.

Howard had just brought her kindergarten class in from recess for snack time on Monday, April 15. “I was at my desk when Henry Lilienthal walked up and pointed to his throat,” said Howard. She proceeded to ask Henry questions to figure out if he was choking. After a couple of quick head nods, Henry was able to communicate that he couldn’t talk or breathe. Howard immediately jumped into action and performed the Heimlich Maneuver on Henry. “I did it maybe five or six times and then watermelon came flying out of his mouth,” shared Howard.

Henry shared his own perspective of the situation. “I felt kind of bad and sad and I walked up to Miss Howard. She pushed on my tummy and then it was alright.” These situations can be scary, especially for a five-year-old student like Henry, but Howard remained calm and made sure Henry did as well. “I had CPR training before, but part of it was just instinct,” said Howard. “There is not a moment to waste in that situation.”

Once the incident was resolved, Howard made sure that Henry was immediately examined by the school nurse and that his parents were notified of the situation. “Our school prides itself on being a caring and compassionate community,” said Principal Tim Scholle. “Kaitlin fits right in. She saw an issue and didn’t fail to act. She knew what she had to do 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 in trouble. “I think it’s important as an educator that you’re not only teaching your kids every day, but you’re keeping them safe,” said Howard. Henry and his family were so appreciative of the teacher’s heroic act that they surprised her with flowers and a note later that week. Henry even drew her a picture of him and his watermelon. At the top, he wrote, “thank you, Miss Howard, for saving my life.”

Both Miss Howard and Henry showed incredible bravery that day and now the Castlio student can continue doing what he loves - playing with his Avengers action figures, dressing up as Spiderman for Halloween, and simply enjoying life as a kindergartener. Before, Howard was just a great teacher to Henry, but now, she’s a real-life superhero!

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