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2023 Las Vegas Sun Standout Awards Show at The South Point

Christopher DeVargas

Rachel Levy makes a few remarks as she receives the award for Unsung Hero during the Las Vegas Sun Standout Awards at the South Point Hotel Casino & Spa, Monday May 23, 2023.

Rachel Levy had prepared for a severe incident of this nature countless times. So when she heard frantic screams calling her name from observers at Desert Oasis High School after a flag football player collapsed and was unconscious, reacting was like second nature.

Levy used CPR to resuscitate the teen, who was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital. Ashari Hughes, 16, died from cardiac arrest later that evening—a surprise to many in the Desert Oasis community who saw her alert after Levy’s efforts.

“It was just like how we practice,” Levy said. “It’s what we prepare for.”

Levy has since revised the school’s emergency response plan and conducted training with school administrators in preparation for future situations. She also leads CPR renewal training with coaches.

She hopes most will never need to put the practice into action. But, as she can attest, when tragedy occurs, everyone must know what’s expected of them and how to execute.

Levy comes from a family of first-responders. As a high school student at Desert Oasis, she spent her afternoons following the trainers around and got the itch to join in on the profession. “Desert Oasis has always been home,”
she said.

And now she has no plans of leaving, finding worth in making sure the school’s athletes are ready to compete. Some days, it’s taping ankles before a game, or providing rehab therapy.

Unfortunately, on other days, it’s far more urgent. “One of our kids is no longer with us. We’ll always remember her,” Levy said.


• Kim Van Velkinburgh, Liberty athletic secretary: Serves as “a second mother” to athletes in addition to handling paperwork for student eligibility and taking tickets on game day.

• Deborah Wetherby, Southeast Tech contributor: Made numerous personal financial donations to the school’s girl’s basketball program to cover the expenses of families who lack resources.

This story appeared in Las Vegas Weekly.

Article written by #LasVegasSun

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