Teacher's Aide Saves Choking Student

Gives Heimlich to student in need of help in Gatelot cafeteria.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Burbige, a teacher's aide in the Sachem Central School District for 12 years, came to a quick realization just how important that extra set of eyes and hands in the cafeteria of Gatelot Elementary School, actually are.   

On Tuesday, February 7, Burbige was attending to her daily lunch duty in the cafeteria. While the elementary students purchased and were eating their lunches, she continued to pass through the cafeteria checking on students at their tables. Suddenly she noticed a young boy whose face appeared to have turned red. She quickly asked if he was alright and if he was choking, he could not answer and was very frightened. 

She then immediately administered the Heimlich and the lodged piece of food came out onto his tray. 

“I again asked if he could speak and he said, ‘yes I am ok’, words I was so happy to hear,” said Burbige. 

The boy was then taken to be seen by the school nurse.   

“It all happened so fast," she said. "Beedless to say it was frightening but I was so happy to see his bright smiling face in school the next day.”  

Burbige received a heartfelt thank you and gift from the parents the following day and will be honored at the next Board of Education meeting held on March 7.

Debby Castelli March 07, 2012 at 07:30 PM
That's wonderful ! My daughter goes to Gatelot and it's so reassuring to know that there are people around helping our children no matter what the circumstances my be. Thank you Miss Burbige!
heather birmingham March 07, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Robert....not appropriate......this is about Mrs. Burbige and her excellent response.....Great Job!!
C Savage March 07, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Mrs Burbige is awesome!!! Made my daughters kindergarten year great! Congrats!!! She more than deserves the recognition!!!! Glad the lil boy is ok!!!!!
Lannie Homayoon March 07, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Love Mrs. Burbige! Lucky enough to have her as an aide in my son's class! So proud of her!
CHRISTINA MILLER March 08, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Mrs. Burbige is more than just a hero in the cafeteria. She has been an endless source of warmth, kindness and caring to all of the children that have been lucky enough to have her in their classroom. Her heroics are no surprise to this family, we already know how amazing she is!!!
TARAN MUHLENFORTH March 08, 2012 at 03:05 AM
LOVE Mrs. Burbige! Always a big smile on her face!! Wonderful with the children, Gatelot is lucky to have her!
Ellie Aspris March 08, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Awesome Mrs. Burbige! Izzy loved her in kindergarten last year! So glad to hear the boy is okay!
joanne clemens March 08, 2012 at 08:38 PM
So proud of you Mrs. B. Gatelot is lucky to have you!
Angela Ferrante March 08, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Wonderful!! What an amazing woman! So honored to have known her and proud that she works at Gatelot. That little boy has an angel beside him and her name is Ms. Burbige. Kudos!!
Cathy Rienth March 22, 2012 at 12:20 PM
This is why we are so blessed in SACHEM to have the extra hands and eyes throughout the schools with our "much needed" paraprofessionals.


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