Cool Kids Samantha James, Talia Kasten help ASL teacher during scary situation

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- Our ABC7 Cool Kids for Thursday, Nov. 17, are Samantha James and Talia Kasten, who both stepped in to help their American Sign Language teacher survive a severe allergic reaction to food.

Sonya Wilson teaches ASL at Marshall Fundamental Secondary School in Pasadena. She never thought teaching the language would help save her life.

Two weeks ago, she had a severe allergic reaction to food. It was a stressful and scary experience.

"I just felt disoriented and weak. And then my pain, it just surged over my body and my heart began beating faster," she said.

But Wilson, who is deaf and non-verbal, had a hard time typing as she communicated with paramedics. That's when her students stepped in to help.

"I helped there with the paramedics then Talia stepped in when (Wilson) went in the ambulance," James said.

Both students took turns translating to paramedics and later to hospital staff. They even stayed by her side at the hospital until she was well enough to go home.

"I felt proud. I realized that those two students got such real world experience," Wilson said.

Kasten, who is a senior, said the experience was eye opening and very personal.

"I'm actually hard of hearing and there is a possibility I could go deaf, so knowing American Sign Language is really important to me," she said.

James said she's been surprised and pleased by the reaction she's gotten from fellow students, including many who are asking how they can learn ASL.

Both girls hope to continue to use ASL in college and later in life. Meanwhile, Wilson hopes the experience continues to show others just how important ASL can be.
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