Two members of the New Richmond Exempted Village School District family received the January Beth Webster Leading Lion award for their actions under pressure on the first day back from winter break.
New Richmond facilities/transportation director Luke Cox said the day started off about the same as any other until he received a call back to base from one of his drivers, Amber Skinner.
“It was going like normal, you’re just going with the flow, and I heard a driver key up,” Cox said. “She said ‘I have a kid having a seizure.’’’
As Cox reached out to emergency services, he continued to receive updates throughout from the scene.
“As it’s playing out and I'm asking questions, I think I’m speaking to her but…that doesn’t sound like my normal Amber,” Cox said. “In the back of my mind, I think she’s just in the middle of it. The next morning, my assistant says, ‘I think that was a student.’ I said no way.”
Indeed, it was a student. Sarenity Wells, a sophomore at New Richmond High School, had taken charge of communicating with the transportation department for Skinner after the latter moved to help the student in distress.
“It went so smooth on both sides,” Cox said. “They did a fantastic job.”
New Richmond High School principal Joe Stewart introduced Wells at the January board of education meeting and was in awe of how she handled the situation.
“I was amazed at the calmness she showed as a sophomore in this high-intensity moment,” Stewart said. “She was calm, concise and got the information to Mr. Cox, which allowed help to get there as soon as possible.”
Stewart noted that type of reaction is typical for Wells based on how she interacts with her classmates on a day-to-day basis.
“If you ask her teachers, which I’ve done, you get the same three comments,” Stewart said. “She’s calm, considerate and compassionate for all of her classmates.”
New Richmond superintendent Tracey Miller praised both Wells and Skinner for their actions that morning.
“There were about a half a dozen ways this could have went a bad way,” Mr. Miller said. “But [Amber was] calm, cool and collected, Sarenity came in a pinch and helped out and before you know it the ambulance was there. You never know how people are going to respond in times of crisis like that. Thank you so much.”