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Teacher saves student's grandma when she hears her slur words during virtual class

Cynthia Phillips called her granddaughter's teacher Julia Koch when she was having trouble with her tablet. That call saved her life.

Teacher saves student's grandma when she hears her slur words during virtual class
Image Source: FatCamera / GettyImages

Julia Koch is a first-grade teacher at the Edgewood Elementary School in Michigan. Like dozens of other educational institutions across the United States, this elementary school has gone virtual for the current academic year. Koch was teaching her virtual learning class in September when she received a call from Cynthia Phillips, a grandparent who was having trouble charging her granddaughter's school tablet. That is when she felt something was off in the grandmother's voice. She was quite concerned something was wrong, so the teacher called Charlie Lovelady, the principal of the school in Muskegon Heights, who then got a staff member to call 911. What Koch did saved Phillips' life, CNN reports.

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"It was clear there was something very wrong," she said in an interview with CNN. "Her words were so jumbled, and I couldn't understand what she was trying to say." As it turned out, the grandmother was having a stroke. Principal Lovelady too noticed something was off with her speech. He shared, "I noticed her speech was impaired, and I asked her if she was alright, and she was stumbling over her words and it was getting worse by the minute. I knew the symptoms of a stroke because I lost my father from a stroke so I told her to hold on and immediately got her help."

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In addition to the ambulance that was already on its way to the student's house, the principal asked two of his employees to drive to her house to check up on her and the young children under her care. Ultimately, Phillips could not be more thankful for the school community's quick thinking. She said, "I would have died if it weren't for the teacher being so quick and fast about getting me help. It made me so close to the staff and the principal, even the secretary who hurried to get me on the phone with the principal. They showed up at my house to make sure I'm okay. I thank God I didn't die in front of my kids." She is still in the hospital but is quickly recovering.

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Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System Superintendent Rané Garcia affirmed, "I am immensely proud of both Ms. Koch and Mr. Lovelady, their quick actions and the energy they have poured into relationships with students and families during this new way of education are making a significant positive difference in the lives of our students and their families." Koch is particularly happy she was able to help. "I don't think one can truly be a good teacher and not care about the students and their families. In the environment we're in especially, it's too hard to do this without actually truly caring," she said. "Out of all this, what I've learned being part of a community that cares is so important. Paying attention to people and listening to them, always thinking of how to help. It's great to know I'm part of a team like that." Principal Lovelady added, "I'm so proud of my team, it just shows that we have wonderful people here who didn't think twice about calling for help and jumping in the car to check on them. I'm a very, very proud principal."

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