Twelve-Year-Old Pathfinder Uses First Aid Skills to Save a Classmate’s Life

When he saw a classmate choking, Adrian Gonçalves knew exactly what to do.

Jefferson Braun, South American Division News, and Adventist Review
Twelve-Year-Old Pathfinder Uses First Aid Skills to Save a Classmate’s Life
(From left to right) Adrian Gonçalves; Lorenzo, the boy saved by Gonçalves; and Maria Oliveira. [Photo: courtesy of the Buriti Pathfinder Club]

On June 7, the Emiki Kawamura Sakitani Municipal School, located in Dois Irmãos do Buriti, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, was the scene of a heroic act. Adrian Gonçalves, a 12-year-old boy, saved a classmate who was choking during recess. The town, with a population of 11,467, is 120 kilometers (about 75 miles) from the capital Campo Grande.

During the episode, Gonçalves came across a classmate in trouble and, without hesitation, applied a choking maneuver. He said he had learned that technique three months earlier at the Buriti Pathfinder Club.

“When I saw my classmate in that situation, I didn’t think twice about helping him, using the techniques I learned when we were doing the First Aid Pathfinder honor,” Gonçalves said.

The school’s teaching coordinator, Telma da Silva, who is a Seventh-day Adventist church member, highlighted the importance of Gonçalves’s fast response. “If it wasn’t for Adrian’s fast reaction, something worse could have happened,” da Silva said. “He’s a great student and has shown great courage and skill.”

The Buriti Pathfinder Club, launched in 2022, is made up of 22 teenagers and receives support from some parents regularly. According to the club’s director, Gleice Minarini, the training was fundamental.

“We invited the city hospital to train Pathfinder club members on care and first aid. In fact, one of the professionals who came to help with this training was Gonçalves’s father, who is a nurse,” Minarini said. She explained that members of the club do not belong to the Seventh-day Adventist Church but that all participants demonstrate a great spirit of solidarity and learning.

Daiane Arruda, Gonçalves’s mother, shared how proud she was of her son. “As a mother, I feel very happy for my son’s attitude. But I also know how important it is for our children to have someone available to help them. So, it’s a double joy for me: first because a child was saved, and secondly, because my son was the one who helped him,” Arruda said.

Arruda also highlighted the positive impact of the Pathfinder club on the lives of teenagers. Concerning her son, she said, “We noticed a very positive change in his behavior, as he acts more mature and responsible toward his commitments.”

Pathfinder clubs teach useful life skills and prepare its members to be ready to assist others and act when there’s an emergency. Gonçalves is now seen as a hero by his classmates and teachers, they said.

The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Portuguese-language news site.

Jefferson Braun, South American Division News, and Adventist Review