Taft High senior Sara Jewell used her CPR skills to save the life of a one-year-old girl when Jewell was on a choir field trip in Disneyland March 9.
The advanced chamber choir performed before a panel of judges in the morning and the singers were spending the day in the Magic Kingdom before the awards were given out in the evening.
"We (Kayla Schuyler, Whitney Graham and Emily Davis) were in line for the Dumbo ride when a lady came up to the fence screaming that she needed first aid. I hopped the fence, ran up and said I was a lifeguard," Jewell recalled. "The mom was holding her child and the child was limp. She hadn't been breathing for awhile. Her lips were blue, her eyes were rolled into the back of her head and she was convulsing. I immediately started giving her CPR. I did the breathing and a nurse did chest compressions. After more breathing treatments, the child turned her head and threw up spaghetti noodles and started coughing, and coughing is breathing. I waited until paramedics arrived and got her on oxygen. She was taken off on a stretcher and I don't know what became of it."
Afterwards, "We all just hugged each other and cried. I called my mom and then my boss who employed me as a lifeguard. I got lots of handshakes, lots of 'You're a hero.' A US Marine responded (to the scene), but told me, 'It looked like you had it in control.' I really don't feel like I did anything spectacular. I just did what I had to do.
"This was the only time (I've ever used my CPR training). I've never even had to pull anyone out of the pool. It was terrifying. I had such an adrenaline rush. All I remember was hopping the fence and telling the lady I was a lifeguard. The rest was a blur. My training took over. It felt like it was a dream and it still does."
If it seems like the responsible young woman recalled events in detail, it might be because she is editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Gusher.
A Disney official followed her and gave her three fast passes to speed through lines the rest of the day. "The guy actually chased us down," she said.
And the cherry-on-top of this story: The advanced choir earned a silver medal, just one point from getting a gold. Senior Viviana Camacho received a solo award and Kayla Schuyler received the only inspirational award given.