It was a typical afternoon in the cafeteria for instructional aide Carol Holderman until it wasn’t. She noticed a student sitting near her students grabbing at his neck and banging the table.
“I could see the student was in trouble,” Holderman recalls. So she tried to talk to him and when he couldn’t respond, she realized he likely had something stuck in his throat.
“You’re adrenaline just kicks in,” she says. Holderman went behind the student and reached around to perform the Heimlich maneuver, quick pressure under the rib cage. A big piece of cheese came out of the student’s mouth, and by then the school nurse arrived to take over.
Holderman’s quick actions prompted West Campus Associate Principal Terry Fitzgibbons to nominate her for the November Staff Member of the Month Award.
Holderman, who has been at West Campus for 12 years, said she was just doing her job. She just enjoys working with the students as well as her fellow staff members.
“We’ve got really good kids,” she says.
While she is humble about winning the award, Holderman also helped out in a similar situation at school a few years ago.
Holderman’s award is part of a monthly Staff Member of the Month program that started in District 156 this school year. Each month, a staff member from each campus is selected from recommendations of other staff, students, parents and community members.
Staff members receive a plaque and a gift card for either Brunch Cafe or Meat and Potato Eatery. MCHS appreciates the support from those sponsors.