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Teen saves boys life
Lathrop High junior used CPR she learned at school
Teen Heroin DSC 8143
Valerie Villanueva, 15, takes a selfie with Manteca firefighters Brian Swift, Chase Keener Robert Greycel, Brian Macias. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Lathrop High student Valerie Villanueva saved the life of an 11-year-old Manteca boy on Saturday drawing on the CPR training she learned in her ROP health class.

The 15-year-old was in attendance at a birthday party on Plumeria Place in South Manteca when the near drowning occurred around 7 p.m.

There were between eight to 10 boys in the pool playing tag and running to both sides of the pool when the accident happened. Witnesses said a 9-year-old boy was floundering and his 11-year-old brother jumped in to save him without thinking that he couldn’t swim and sank to the bottom.  

The older boy had no pulse after being pulled from the bottom of the pool by a 45-year-old uncle.

The Lathrop High junior said she had done three sets of 30 CPR compressions on the older boy – 90 chest compressions total – when he started coughing and spitting up blood.  

Battalion Chief Dave Marques called for a second ambulance to respond after learning there were two kids possibly drowning and that CPR was being performed on one of them. He said that the 9-year-old was soon responding well after choking up water.  The 11-year-old boy was transported to a Kaiser hospital after firefighters checked both boys for lung sounds and vital signs. 

There were some 50 people in the back yard of the home for the birthday celebration when the incident occurred.  

“She did what she was trained to do which is difficult to do in a stressful situation,” Chief Marques said of Villanueva.

The teen said the best part of the evening was when the boys’ mother walked up to her and gave her a hug for what she had done. 

Villanueva learned CPR techniques from Lathrop High teacher James Ward who works for Tracy Fire Department part-time on weekends. 

Villanueva, who carries a 4.0 grade point average, hopes to someday become a pediatrician. 

The firefighters who responded returned to the teen’s home Sunday afternoon to have their picture taken with her and to once again thank her for using her life-saving skills she learned in her ROP health careers class at Lathrop High.  


To contact Glenn Kahl, email