WTA students save three lives

(L-R) WTA Allied Health lead teacher Maureen Baillargeon and Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski honored Mikeila Maysonet, Brooke Thompson and Jessica Rabtor with Above and Beyond certificates for each saving a life. (Photo by Amy Porter)

WESTFIELD – Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski Monday announced that he had a trio of “Above and Beyond” certificates to award to three students for each saving a life this spring.

All three are Allied Health students from Westfield Technical Academy who used the skills they learned in school to perform the life-saving Heimlich maneuver at their places of employment over a six-week period.
Brooke Thompson is a senior in the Allied Health program and currently works at Westfield Gardens Nursing Home and Rehabilitation as a Certified Nurse’s Assistant (CNA). On March 11, Thompson aided a resident who was turning blue and clearly choking, by giving an abdominal thrust in an upward motion above the navel, expelling a large piece of meat in her throat.
Czaporowski said the director of Westfield Gardens called the school to tell her teachers and the principal that Thompson had indeed saved a life. At Monday’s School Committee meeting, Julie Cowle, Westfield Gardens’ director of nursing, also spoke, saying that Thompson could have stopped and asked for help, but instead acted. “If myself or a loved one needed medical care, (I hope) it would be a nurse like Thompson. She’s a true hero,” she said, before presenting Thompson with a gift.
Thompson is a member of SkillsUSA and has completed the EKG technician course at WTA. She also played soccer this year. Her future plans involved studying health sciences at Springfield Technical Community College and continuing her studies to become a surgical registered nurse.
Mikeila Maysonet is currently employed at Westfield State University as a dietary aide and works at the Panda House Chinese restaurant. On March 30, Maysonet noticed her supervisor patting a woman on the back whose face was purple. Maysonet quickly stepped in and asked the woman to stand, and performed four abdominal thrusts before the food cleared.
Czaporowski said that Maysonet, a senior in Allied Health received her CNA certification last June, and completed the EKG technician course at WTA. She has applied to Holyoke Community College for health care, and plans to further her education.
Jessica Rabtor, a senior in the Allied Health program was on cooperative education at Armbrook Village, an assisted living facility, when she successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver on a resident on April 18. Rabtor entered the main dining room and saw that a resident was purple and not breathing, but still alert. The resident was in a wheelchair, and Rabtor got assistance standing her from a co-worker and performed the Heimlich with the food object clearing.
Rabtor is now in a new cooperative education placement at Baystate Noble’s emergency department, and is looking forward to the variety and experiences the ER can offer, Czaporowski said. She will be attending STCC in the fall, and will continue her education to become a physician’s assistant.
At the end of the presentation, School Committee member Cindy Sullivan thanked the students, saying that she works with seniors every day at the Southwick Senior Center.
“The students are the best marketing the city and the schools could have,” said Mayor Brian P. Sullivan. “They took it from the classroom to the real world, and thank God they did,” he added.
Allied Health lead teacher Maureen Baillargeon agreed. “We are definitely proud they are able to take classroom skills and use them in the real world,” she said.

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