BOSTON (CBS) – A math teacher, who collapsed in front of her class, is recovering thanks to her students and co-workers. On Wednesday, they were honored for their actions.

“Everything just fell into place to save her,” said Patti Mazurkiewicz. She’s talking about her sister, 61-year-old Joan Eacmen, who very nearly died on the job at the O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science.

It was late on the morning of March 31 when Eacmen suffered a heart attack and collapsed in front of her class. Some of her students ran to her side while others ran for help.

“I did what I thought I should have done, which I guess was the right thing,” Nakeo Murray said.

Murray and a couple of classmates rolled her over and cleared her airway. School nurse Carrie Bell Peace was among the first staffers to arrive, and was told only that a teacher had fallen.

“When I get to the scene, and I see what I see, I think, oh my God, this is more than that,” Bell Peace said.

While she and an assistant principal performed CPR, another staffer ran to get the school’s portable defibrillator and Eacmen got four jolts.

“If there was no AED here, my sister would be dead,” Mazurkiewicz said. “I know that for a fact.”

Paramedics who took over say fast action by staffers and students saved the teacher’s life. On Wednesday, the Eacmen family applauded as those who helped were honored for their heroic efforts.

“I think there’s a lot of people who would freeze in that situation,” said Michelle O’Connell, Eacmen’s sister.

Now, her students, co-workers, and family would just love to bring the story full circle.

“Now that it’s worked out, I’m glad that she’s fine and I hope that everyone in the class gives her a big welcome back,” student Railin Castro said.

Eacmen is out of the hospital and recovering at home. But there is no timetable yet for her return to the classroom.



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