Suburban Heroes: How Hoffman Estates student, teacher saved drowning classmate

Hoffman Estates High School sophomore Kira Nicole Weiland was taking part in a gym class ballgame in the school's swimming pool Nov. 30 when she noticed a classmate struggling in the deep end.

"She just looked like she was calling for the ball, but she was going under," Kira said.

The other girl, who wasn't a strong swimmer, usually wore a flotation belt and avoided the deep end. But that day, she was doing neither.

Kira swam over to the girl and alerted teacher Christopher Fetterman, who jumped in and helped Kira get the struggling student to safety.

Those efforts earned Kira and Fetterman the Hoffman Estates Citizen Lifesaving Award.

Fetterman said he assists struggling swimmers about six times a year, but this was the first full rescue he's been involved in. Paramedics took the girl to the hospital for observation and she returned to school later that day.

"She came and thanked me in the locker room the next week," Kira said.

Kira and Fetterman received their awards at a Hoffman Estates village board meeting Jan. 15.

"It's just so wonderful to have so many young citizens stepping up to the plate," village Trustee Anna Newell said.

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