NEW: Fast-acting Wellington teachers credited with saving boy’s life


Two Wellington teachers are to thank for saving the life of one of their students last week.

Third-grader Kolston Moradi was waiting to be picked up from Equestrian Trails Elementary School on Nov. 1 when in a “freak accident” his freshly sharpened pencil stabbed into his arm near his armpit as he sat down — without him feeling a thing, according to a Palm Beach County School District news release.

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When 8-year-old Kolston realized what happened, he pulled out the pencil and told reading teacher Mandi Kapopoulos and ESE coordinator Elizabeth Richards. Kapopoulos used her sleeve as a tourniquet on Kolston’s arm as Richards, who studied nursing before deciding to be a teacher, ran to find gloves so she could apply pressure to the wound.

“My shirt was drenched (with blood),” Kapopoulos said. “And there was a trail of blood all over the floor.”

Richards laid down on the floor with Kolston, trying to keep him calm as she continued to apply pressure. “I just focused on Kolston,” she said. “I kept telling him, ‘You’ve got this. It’s going to be OK.’”

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As the teachers waited with Kolston for emergency crews to arrive, his mother Annalisa Moradi was outside waiting in line to pick up her son when the school called and asked her to come inside. “When I saw the ambulance, my heart sank,” she said.

Equestrian Trails Principal Michelle Johnson walked Moradi to Kolston, who was being tended to by first responders. Moradi said she didn’t realize how serious the incident was until Kolston was in the ambulance: The pencil had sunk six inches into his arm, puncturing an artery.

“The EMT told me that if the teachers hadn’t acted as quickly as they had, my son would be dead,” Moradi said.

While Kolston got two staples in his arm and “was insistent that he return to school the next day,” the school district said his fellow Equestrian Trails students got a reminder to always keep their pencils in their pencil cases.

“You are sending your most cherished people to school, and I know I can send them school and never have another worry about their safety,” Moradi said. “There are no words to say thank you enough. Equestrian Trails and (these teachers) will be with us the rest of our lives.”



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