After a week of heroic acts, Lourdes Academy eighth grade students (from left) Antonio, Jonathan, and Vyon, and After Care Program Coordinator Dawn Ritchie pause in front of the school’s KIND mural. Antonio and Jonathan are credited for saving Mrs. Ritchie and Vyon’s life after the boys prevented them from choking. (COURTESY)

Two 8th grade Lourdes Academy students are being hailed heroes after each jumped into action and saved a school employee and classmate from choking. 

The first incident took place on Friday, Nov. 6 in the school cafeteria during lunch.  Jonathan and fellow classmate, Vyon, were enjoying their lunches when Vyon began choking on a piece of a popsicle. Jonathan began pounding on his friend’s back until the food piece became dislodged. Jonathan said he and Vyon have been best friends since kindergarten and he would have been “destroyed” had anything happened to him.

Ironically, three days later on Monday, Nov. 9, it was Antonio who saved the day.  During the school’s aftercare program, Antonio was talking to the program coordinator, Dawn Ritchie, when she began choking on a piece of food. Antonio quickly stepped in and performed the Heimlich maneuver on her, dislodging the piece of food. When Mrs. Ritchie began praising and thanking him, Antonio simply said, “You are welcome.”

He said he learned the life-saving maneuver this summer after his mother went through a similar choking situation. 

“I’m not surprised by the actions of these young men.  It goes to show how they truly understand our root belief, ‘loving the God you cannot see by loving the neighbor you can,’” said Mr. Stephen Dole, Principal at Lourdes Academy.

“It takes a tremendous amount of courage and bravery to step in at a moment’s notice to help someone in need.  To do this as an 8th grade student and potentially save a life is amazing.  If they can do that as 8th graders, imagine what they will do as they continue to grow.”