Waco student hailed a hero after saving teacher by performing Heimlich maneuver

Student already preparing for career in health care put her knowledge into practice
Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 3:22 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A local high school student already training for a career in the medical field put her knowledge to good use this week, saving the life of a teacher choking in the school’s library.

Aaliyah Dabera, 17, was with a friend in the Midway High School library when teacher Nicole Miles rounded the corner in distress.

“I soon saw Aaliyah. She was in the library sitting with her friend and I looked at her with sheer desperation and motioned towards my throat , ‘I can’t breathe,’” Miles said. “And she saw that look on my face. She ran over. She got behind me and she gave me the Heimlich.”

Aaliyah was able to get the chip lodged in Miles’s throat free. She then called for help from others in the library.

WATCH: Woodway student Aaliyah Dabera performs Heimlich maneuver on teacher Nicole Miles

Aaliyah says she was just putting into practice what she’s been taught.

The junior at Midway is already preparing for a career in the medical field as part of the Greater Waco Advanced Healthcare Academy, known as GWAHCA. The academy prepares Waco area juniors and seniors for a career in the health care industry.

Aaliyah attends training off campus every morning. She just learned the Heimlich earlier this year.

Aaliyah Dabera, 17, was with a friend in the Midway High School library when teacher Nicole...
Aaliyah Dabera, 17, was with a friend in the Midway High School library when teacher Nicole Miles rounded the corner in distress.(Courtesy Photo)

“The reason I responded so quickly is I could tell Mrs. Miles, she was in distress,” Aaliyah said. “Her face color, it was a really dark red and blue color. She had been grabbing her throat and when I went over to her, she could not talk, so I started to perform the Heimlich maneuver.”

Aailiyah says she never hesitated to help and the security video which captured the harrowing moment proves that to be true.

“I know that I can handle situations like that and situations that are far worse because I have the instinct to react and help instead of hesitate and panic,” she said.

Miles, a teacher of 10 years and college, career advisor and AVID Coordinator, couldn’t agree more. “She stayed calm. She did was supposed to and she saved my life,” Miles said.

Aaliyah Dabera and teacher Nicole Miles.
Aaliyah Dabera and teacher Nicole Miles.(Courtesy Photo)

“I don’t’ know what would have happened if she wasn’t’ there that day . I get chocked up thinking about it. It just warms my heart to know that a student would act the way she did to help me out. I’m so grateful and I can’t wait to hear about all the amazing things she’s going to do in the medical field.”

Aaliyah’s heroic act is not going unnoticed. Her GWAHA instructor made a sign for the door of her class which reads “We have a hero in our class! #Aaliyahsavedalife.”

Aaliyah earned her Certified Nurse’s Assistant license on April 3rd.

She’s planning to attend medical school and pursue a career as an OBGYN or OB.

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