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9-Yr-Old Lunchtime Hero Jumps Into Action When Her Classmate Begins Choking.

essence and another girl talking in a school cafeteria.

Essence, a fourth-grade student in Wisconsin, didn’t set out to be a hero. But today, she is being hailed as one.

It all started on what seemed to be a typical day at school. The 9-year-old was peacefully eating lunch when she saw that another student needed help. She did not hesitate to spring into action.

“She brought cold lunch … when she was about to swallow her food, she choked. And then I went to go help her,” Essence told Good Morning America.

She said she felt a bit nervous and scared in the situation, but she took deep breaths to help calm herself down so she could help her classmate.

“I rushed over there as fast as I can to like, help her out,” Essence said. “I just did what I had to do to save her life because I didn’t want her to die.”

Teacher Samantha Bradshaw was in the classroom with the students when the incident happened. She said she was very surprised to see a fourth-grader react in the way Essence did.

“I didn’t notice at first until I saw Essie dart across the classroom,” Samantha recalled. “I kind of shouted out stop because I didn’t know what was going on. And then I saw her approach the other student, just wrap her arms behind and then just do that quick thrust.”

Essence shared that she learned how to perform the Heimlich maneuver from a YouTube video she saw a few years ago.

It’s fair to say her memory served her well as she performed the life-saving technique for the very first time!

Steven Branson, principal at Fratt Elementary says they can’t identify the student who choked to media, but shared that the student was able to recover after the incident, assessed by a school nurse, and was able to return to class.

“We’re just extremely proud that Essie, you know, when she was called upon to be able to do something like this, she knew how and was able to perform this for her classmate,” Steven said.

The school community shares in Steven’s pride and they have celebrated Essence’s efforts. The afterschool program she participates in held an “Essie Day” by hosting a breakfast for her and giving her gifts of appreciation. The program, called, “Girls Thrive,” is designed to show how young girls can make a difference.

Samantha added that despite all the attention the brave student is receiving, Essence has remained humble.

“After everything had settled down, later that day, I went up and I told her how proud I was of her,” said Samantha. “And she said, ‘I’m just a kid. You know, but keep it coming. So, you know, she does feel like a kid even though she did do something very heroic.”

It was a heroic moment indeed! It is also sure to be an experience that Essence will never forget. She said she hopes she doesn’t have to perform the life-saving technique again. More than anything, she is grateful her classmate is OK.

“I really want kids to learn this,” she said of the Heimlich maneuver.

Watch out, there’s a new hero on the streets and her name is Essence! No but seriously, it is so cool to see such a young kid saving lives. Way to go, Essence!

Share this story with a friend to celebrate Essence’s brave actions and the safe recovery of her fellow classmate.

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