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Hero teacher saved her student from choking. Now she's being honored by her city.

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 7/8/2022 Sarah Scanlan, USA TODAY
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A group of third-graders sat on a sunny New Jersey lawn to watch their heroic teacher receive the Key to the City. After all, their classmate, 9-year-old Robert Stonaker, might not have been here today if that teacher, Mrs. JaNiece Jenkins hadn’t saved him from choking in their East Orange Community Charter School classroom.

New Jersey teacher saves student from choking © Provided by USA TODAY New Jersey teacher saves student from choking

“I was trying to open the bottle with my hand and I couldn't because the bottle cap was too tight, so I opened it with my mouth and I was squeezing it and it went down my throat,” remembered Stonaker, “I couldn't breathe at all.”

Struggling to breathe and starting to panic, first Robert ran to the sink to try to spit out the cap. When that didn’t work, he ran across the room to Jenkins for help.

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“He ran over to me and he's mouthing, but there's no sound coming out and he's pointing to his throat that, you know, he needs help. So I saw that he needed help. I acted on my training, and I performed the Heimlich maneuver. We got the cap out Robert was okay. And I was grateful.”

Watch the video above to watch the tense moment the teacher saved her student’s life.

“I never ever thought that I was going to have to use my first aid training. I'm grateful for that training because you never know,” said Jenkins.

Stonaker’s mom Indra was also grateful Jenkins remembered her training. “You know, she saved a life. So I think she did a great job and we greatly appreciated it,” she said.

Jenkins hopes her actions will inspire others not only to get training but to step up when needed. “You know, this is a perfect example of not knowing, not knowing that you're going to be that person to save a life. We're always thinking that there's somebody more responsible ... there's a nurse,” she said. “But there are also cases where there's not anyone there. If I wasn't certified, this could have gone a whole other way, and thank God that I was able to help him because I was certified. So yes. Get certified pay attention because you never know.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hero teacher saved her student from choking. Now she's being honored by her city.

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