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WELLINGTON, Fla. - A Florida 8-year-old is alive because of the quick thinking of two teachers who sprang into action when he accidentally impaled himself on a freshly sharpened pencil earlier this month.
Kolston Moradi, a third-grader at Equestrian Trails Elementary School in Wellington, was waiting for his mother to pick him up from school the afternoon of Nov. 1 when he sat down with other students on the floor of the dismissal room. According to the Palm Beach County school district, the weight of his body drove a pencil in the side pocket of his backpack into his arm near the armpit.
“I didn’t really feel anything,” Kolston said in a news release on the district’s website. “But when I went to put (the pencil) in my backpack, I realized it was in me, and I pulled it out.”
Blood immediately started pouring from the wound and onto the floor. The pencil, which was driven about four inches into his body, had punctured an artery.
The frightened student went to Mandi Kapopoulos, a reading teacher who was standing nearby, and showed her his injury, school district officials said. Elizabeth Richards, the school’s Exceptional Student Education (ESE) coordinator, was also nearby and ran to help.
Kapopoulos pulled her arm out of her shirt sleeve and used the sleeve as a tourniquet as Richards, who went to nursing school before becoming a teacher, ran to get gloves so she could apply pressure to Kolston’s wound.
Richards laid on the floor with the boy, applying pressure and keeping him calm as they awaited paramedics.
“There were hundreds of other kids in the hall, but I didn’t see or hear them,” Richards told school district officials. “I just focused on Kolston. I kept telling him, ‘You’ve got this. It’s going to be OK.’”
Meanwhile, Kolston’s mother, Annalisa Moradi, was outside, waiting her turn in the car pickup line. An administrator called her and asked her to come inside.
“When I saw the ambulance, my heart sank,” Moradi said.
Carrying two of Kolston’s siblings, she hurried inside, where teachers tended to her little ones while the school’s principal, Michele Johnson, took Moradi to her son’s side, the news release said.
“At first, I didn’t understand what happened, but as soon as I walked in, I felt like the situation was under control,” Moradi said. “They were calm, and they kept me calm.”
Paramedics who responded to the scene told the mother of four just how dire the situation could have been.
“The EMT told me that if the teachers hadn’t acted as quickly as they had, my son would be dead,” Moradi said.
Instead, Kolston’s experience ended with two staples in his arm to close the wound. He was back at school the next day.
Since the freak accident, school administrators and teachers are reminding their charges to always keep their pencils in a pencil case.
Johnson told district officials that the incident was a first in her career.
“I have been an educator for 28 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Johnson said.