Debaters recognized for act of courage

Saturday, September 5, 2015
Jason E. Silvers/Tribune photo Fort Scott High School Principal Shawn Thomas recognizes FSHS student Darby Toth, center, and other members of the FSHS debate team Friday afternoon for the students' efforts in helping with an emergency health situation last month. Toth became emotional during a pep rally held at Frary Field in which the students received applause and a standing ovation for their deed.

Fort Scott High School student Darby Toth and a group of her fellow classmates were recognized Friday for their acts of courage and leadership at a recent school event.

Toth was among a group of more than 30 FSHS debate team members who attended a debate clinic Aug. 28 at Blue Valley High School. The students were recognized by FSHS Principal Shawn Thomas for their efforts in helping an assistant debate coach who experienced health issues at the debate clinic.

The recognition took place during a pep rally Friday at Frary Field prior to the FSHS Tigers' first football game of the season in Parsons.

"A sponsor experienced some medical issues which were serious," Thomas said during the pep rally.

As he recognized the group of students who helped the sponsor last week, Thomas mentioned how he has talked with FSHS students recently about leadership at the school.

"If this isn't an example of leadership, I don't know what is," he said.

Thomas said the students were "extremely helpful" in assisting the coach by performing CPR and defibrillation efforts, and commended them for their handling of an emergency health situation.

"They exhibited courage and bravery," Thomas said. "All of those kids did a great job. She (Toth) exhibited the skills she had learned."

Toth, who became emotional when she and her fellow classmates received a round of applause and a standing ovation for their deed, talked with the Tribune following the pep rally.

"We got off the bus. He (the assistant coach) was doing fine," Toth said. "He just suddenly fell over and passed out and started turning blue."

Toth said she "ran into the classroom" and started performing CPR and using an automated external defibrillator (AED). Other students called 911 and got the attention of a teacher. Toth said the rest of the team went into the library at the school.

"I was terrified," Toth said of her initial reaction when the incident occurred.

Toth said she worked as a lifeguard at the Fort Scott Aquatic Center this summer and put her learned skills to use in a real-life emergency situation.

"I want to thank my managers for the proper training," she said. "Somebody needed to do something. I just did what needed to be done."

Thomas and Toth said they recently learned the assistant coach was still in the hospital Friday, but Thomas said he heard he "was doing fine." Toth said she later learned the coach had a heart attack.

"I heard he had met up with a surgeon ... and he feels great," Toth said.