It was snack time in the cafeteria at Whitmore Charter School when Recreational Leader Alexia (Lexi) Deleon heard students shout, “He’s choking!” Deleon’s training both as an employee of the Ceres Unified School District after-school program and a nursing student kicked in.
“I knew exactly what to do,” said Deleon, who was honored with a Lifesaving Hero Award at Thursday’s CUSD board of trustees meeting. She directed team members to call 911 and the student’s parent as she rushed to the student’s aid.
“I successfully administered abdominal thrusts, also known as the Heimlich (maneuver).”
Emily Harry, CUSD’s Coordinator of Educational Options who oversees the district’s After School Education & Safety (ASES) program, presented the award.
“I’m just so proud that, in the moment, she reacted quickly and didn’t hesitate,” said Harry. “Lexi took charge of the situation, remaining calm, in control, and aware. It just shows that she’s a brave person willing to do whatever it takes to keep our kids safe.”
A CUSD employee since 2017, Deleon believes it’s important for everyone to learn to perform lifesaving measures such as the Heimlich maneuver and CPR and to stay up to date with current procedures and techniques.
“The kids that I have at work, they’re like my own,” she said. “I’m just so thankful that I was able to help.”
The ASES program serves up to 3,000 students per day in grades K-8, providing after-school recreation, enrichment and nutrition, in addition to the Bridge to Learning intervention component for students who need academic support. The programs run concurrently until 6 p.m. on school days and are offered at no charge to CUSD families.