CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — To the beat of The Bee Gees, Shenendehowa High School sophomores took the first steps to saving a life through CPR on Tuesday.
“It was definitely better than learning it in a real life scenario, like right off the start,” says one student Justin Gillan.
“It was definitely fun and more hands on than just writing stuff down on a piece of paper,” adds classmate Greg Sweet.
Students were able to practice on mannequins and training tools donated by Albany Med in partnership with the American Heart Association “CPR in Schools” program. Health teacher Daniel Marek says he finds this lesson so important as he knows all too well how critical CPR can be in a crisis.
“I knew a person who actually saw their mother pass away. She needed someone to do CPR, but the person didn’t know how to perform CPR, didn’t know what to do,” Marek explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton. “That person dedicated themselves to learning and teaching this skill, and life really comes full circle, because their father later needed CPR in a situation and this person saved their father’s life.”
He says he told his students that story to bring home how important it is to learn hands-only CPR.
“These kids are smart enough to know a real life situation can be scary , but there’s reasons why things happen so you can learn from them and prevent them in the future,” Marek says.
Albany Medical College professor and chief of the Emergency Medicine Department’s Prehospital and Operational Medicine division, Dr. Michael Dailey was on hand to show the teens useful tips and explain technique. He says he enjoys helping the students become excited to learn.
“What it does is it really gives them the chance to gain that confidence that they’ll need if they have to react in case of an emergency,” Dr. Dailey says.
Shenedehowa Central School District Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson agrees and adds CPR is a critical skill that needs to be ingrained into every member of the next generation.
“We want this to be an authentic learning experience for our students and not just another academic exercise, another assignment they have to do, or another course they have to take, but truly something that empowers them to be difference makers,” Robinson says.
“All kids have to take a health class before they graduate so what better way for them to leave equipped for the real world than to provide them with this skill. Certainly the partnership with the American Heart Association has been great,” he goes on to say.
The teens themselves know just how important this fun lesson will be later.
“You’re doing something good, and you’re saving a life. There’s no words to describe really explain it, but you’re saving someone’s life,” explains Sweet.
“Their life is basically in your hands,” adds Gillan.
The American Heart Association and its partners have donated 15 free “CPR in Schools” kits to different institutions across the Capital Region so far this year.