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Midlothian, TX

January 17, 2020 | Andrew Hurst

Alison Afshari, Midlothian ISD Teacher, Saves Life of Fellow Teacher's Mother Through CPR
Alison Afshari

Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumna and choir teacher Alison Afshari recently helped save the life of a fellow teacher’s parent at Walnut Grove Middle School .

After releasing students from theatre rehearsal during a weekend in September, Afshari and two theatre teachers, Eric Craddock and Jessica Lewis, heard a yelling sound through the halls. The three teachers ran towards the sound and found an elderly woman had collapsed in the hallway. The woman was the 79-year-old mother of Walnut Grove math teacher, Susan O’Rear.

Afshari immediately began performing CPR while Craddock and Lewis phoned the police and escorted students away from the scene.

“Honestly, my adrenaline kicked in and my natural instinct was to jump in and figure out how to help,” said Afshari. “In training, they teach you to pulse the compressions to the tempo of the chorus from Bee Gee’s ‘Stayin’ Alive.’ Being a choir director, that part stuck with me!”

Afshari was the only one present at the scene who was CPR certified-a certification that she had just completed a few months prior due to Midlothian ISD ’s safety and security plan.

She cautiously went through all the steps she was taught in her course. Even though Afshari seemed calm and collected, she was just as worried and stressed as everyone around her.

“I hope it is the only time I will need it. Having someone’s life in your hands is terrifying, yet I feel empowered knowing I can help. I’m so grateful to have attended the training provided me by my school district, and I encourage others to seek training. It would have been a different story without it.”

Shortly after Afshari had administered CPR, paramedics arrived and transported Mrs. Moore, O’Rear’s mother, to the hospital.

Walnut Grove Middle School Teachers, Alison Afshari (left, holding certificate), Jessica Lewis  and Eric Craddock recognized at Midlothian ISD Board of Trustees meeting
Walnut Grove Middle School Teachers, Alison Afshari (left, holding certificate), Jessica Lewis and
Eric Craddock recognized at a Midlothian ISD Board of Trustees meeting

It was later reported that Mrs. Moore had suffered a seizure followed by a stroke that evening and had it not been for the quick-thinking and CPR performed by Afshari, the paramedics and doctors stated that she would not have survived.

The weeks following the incident were an emotional time for Afshari. As she continued to wrap her mind around all that had occurred, she was overwhelmed by the love and support shown by the school and the community including the local fire chief. “He came by to meet with me and his words were encouraging and helped me to process the situation.”

The incident occurred during Afshari’s fifth year at Walnut Grove. She was introduced to Walnut Grove when she had the opportunity to student-teach at the middle school during her time completing her bachelor’s degree in Music Education at SAGU. After graduating from SAGU in 2010 and after approximately 5 years teaching music and choir in Putnam City Schools , an ISD in northwest Oklahoma City, Afshari accepted the Choir Director position at Walnut Grove in 2015.

“Teaching is truly a calling,” she says. “God has given me a passion for molding and mentoring individuals into the best possible versions of themselves.  I love to see my students transform and blossom into wonderful young people during the 3 years they are in middle school choir.“

Reflecting on her career thus far, she believes that her time at SAGU has played a significant role in her outlook as an educator.

“The music faculty at SAGU has become like family to me. I spent 4 years being mentored by the best teachers who not only instilled a drive for musical excellence but also invested in me as a person. I strive to be the same type of educator.”

As for Mrs. Moore, she has continued to recover at a remarkable rate according to an article by the Midlothian Mirror . Afshari even had the opportunity to meet her and help her celebrate her 80th birthday when Moore and her daughter, O’Rear, stopped by Afshari’s classroom for a surprise visit.

“It was a moving moment and very rewarding to see Mrs. Moore thriving and blessed with another year of life.”

SAGU’s Teacher Education program is the second-largest program in our College of Business and Education! Hundreds of SAGU Education graduates alongside Alison Afshari are serving in classrooms throughout Texas. Interested in learning how this program can equip you with practical teaching training and experience so that you can help serve the next generation? Click here!

As a leading Christian university, SAGU educates and prepares individuals who want to serve Christ and others. SAGU helps students discover and develop their God-given callings in a Spirit-empowered, learning community.

We believe in affordable tuition, made possible in part through the financial support of donors who embrace the mission of SAGU and the importance of affordable, accredited programs to train Christians for leadership in ministry, business, education, and service.

Most majors are available in-person in Waxahachie, TX, and online through a wide range of associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

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