Students Rising AboveBy Michelle Griego

SAN RAFAEL (KPIX) — Students Rising Above scholars are exceptional achievers at home, at school and in their communities but this week’s scholar Nehemias Gramajo Signor is all that and more. He’s also a hero because he saved a life.

Gramajo Signor is always on the move. So most evenings the energetic Terra Linda High School senior can be found on the basketball court at Pueblo Park in San Rafael.

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“I cannot stay still,” confessed Gramajo Signor.

His pandemic workouts had been a peaceful outlet for the 17-year-old, until one harrowing night three weeks ago.

“A guy was freaking out, a girl was freaking out too. They were screaming and crying, I didn’t know why,” he recalled. “They started calling the police. And as soon as they called the police I knew that something was wrong, and I had to go check and see if they were okay.”

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What Gramajo Signor then encountered when he crossed the basketball court to a portable restroom nearby was anything but okay.

“I see a grown man, knocked out doing a voice like ‘huggg huggg’ like he’s struggling to breathe,” Gramajo Signor said, described the sounds he heard from the man in distress.

Later, he would learn the unconscious man lying on the ground was just 33 years old. But in the moment he knew he had to act.

“I knew that if I don’t do anything he might die,” he said. “So I started giving him CPR.”

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Gramajo Signor’s actions that day showed the fearless spirit he has leaned into during uncertain and changing times in his own life.
Some of those times have been devastating, such as the gruesome leg injury he sustained during a high school football game.

“I broke my leg in half playing football and I missed nearly half of my freshman year,” recalled Gramajo Signor. “I am still recovering to this day.”

Other times have been joyful, like his recent four-month solo journey to see family in Guatemala.

“I had family in Quetzaltenango, I had family in San Marcos, and I had family in Sija,” he said. “I got really close to them and they just didn’t want to let me go.”

So with such care for others, it’s no surprise when the teen saw a stranger’s life at stake, he didn’t let go.

Gramajo Signor says he performed CPR on the unconscious man until emergency personal arrived. Later, local law enforcement would tell Gramajo Signor that the man had survived.

Gramajo Signor says he hopes to attend Sonoma State in the fall where he plans on majoring in criminal justice. He says he wants to go into law enforcement so he can serve his country and community. Currently, he’s a police explorer with the Novato Police Department

So helping a community member in need is something this quiet hero sees in simple terms, as a calling to serve others.

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“I helped him because I knew he needed help, “said Gramajo Signor. “I just knew that if I didn’t do this, who else is going to do this? and if I don’t do it he might lose his life.”

Michelle Griego