LORAIN, Ohio (WJW) – A good teacher is ready for just about everything.

Students forget to bring their pencil, so they have extra. Someone’s not paying attention? Well, you get their attention with a good book.

They’re little, simple headaches that can be cured be an extra sip of coffee and determination, but then there are those things that are downright scary.

“It hurt. I don’t know, I was scared.” 

Just before lunch about a week ago, fifth-grader Ricardo Reyes popped a mint into his mouth, it got stuck and he knew he was in trouble

“When I tried to take it out, it didn’t come out and when I tried to swallow it, it just didn’t go down.” Ricardo said.

Ricardo was choking. No matter what he did he couldn’t get that mint out. That’s when one of his classmates yelled for Mrs. Cunningham.

“I looked at his chest and it wasn’t moving that was a sign that there was no oxygen,” Fifth Grade Teacher Aftan Cunningham said. “So I called the office and said, ‘student choking,’ and then I started the Heimlich and I gave him about six thrusts, I think, and it came out.”

This was the first time Cunningham had ever done anything like this. In fact, she just learned the proper way to do the Heimlich along with CPR this year through a program offered by Lorain City Schools.

It’s a fact that’s not lost on Ricardo’s parents who say she made all the difference.

“I want to say thank you because she may have been the last person to see my son,” said Ricardo’s mom, Yachelis Rodriquez. 

Teachers are always prepared for anything. When that ‘anything’ involves saving a life, for a teacher like Mrs. Cunningham, it’s just what she was supposed do.

“The adrenaline just kicked in and I just kind of handled it and took care of it.” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said that she recommends everyone take first aid classes that include CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver.

Lorain City Schools plan to honor the teacher at the next board meeting.