‘Don't Quit:' Maryland Students Help Save Teacher After Heart Attack

Frank Holiday, a welding teacher at North Point High School, suffered an almost impossible-to-survive severe heart attack during a class back in September

NBC Universal, Inc.

Students and staff at North Point High School in Charles County were honored Tuesday night for their heroic efforts to save the life of their welding teacher.

Frank Holiday suffered an almost impossible-to-survive severe heart attack during a class back in September, and that day changed the lives of everyone present.

"He doesn't sugar coat stuff," student Kayden Chavers said of Mr. Holiday. "He tells us the truth about life."

It was Sept. 30, during a game of three-on-three basketball using a hoop that his students built, that something went wrong with the beloved teacher.

"He got his last shot off, so we were going to check up, and then we turned around and he was just leaning back and he fell into the tanks," said student Dylan Farmer.

Charlie Burch, who teaches construction next door, was the first to respond.

"All of a sudden I heard yelling and screaming and kids running down the hall," Burch said. "A couple of them ran in my room and said 'Something happened, he just passed out.'"

Amy Robinson, aquatics manager and CPR trainer, came second.

"I started to apply the AED pads," she said, but she and the other teachers -- all trained in CPR -- knew it wasn't good.

"To be honest, Frank did not look good," Robinson said. "He definitely didn't... there were no signs of life from him."

According to School Resource Officer, Corp. Tiffany Smith, it took 21 minutes of continuous CPR between everyone present to save Holiday's life.

"It's overwhelming to think the amount of people who didn't give up on me," Holiday said. "And I'm here today."

The Charles County school system took time Tuesday to honor everyone who helped save Holiday.

It's thanks to those fast-thinking students and persistent teachers that, six weeks later, Holiday is around to tell his story. He says he doesn't remember the week before or after his heart attack -- just waking up in the hospital.

He added that his doctors are amazed by his recovery, and the resilience of his heart.

"If it gets hard, don't quit. I think that's the lesson here," Holiday said. "Cause like I said, some people here on staff... kept me alive, kept my heart pumping, let's put it that way." 

Holiday is expecting to be back in the classroom in early December.

Contact Us