For more than 30 years, middle school students across the Sachem School District have participated in a skills-based program, learning myriad valuable lifesaving skills during health education classes.
As part of the districtwide CPR initiative, seventh-grade students learn proper CPR procedure, the Heimlich Maneuver for choking situations and how to administer an automated external defibrillator in the case of a cardiac arrest. Students practice proper technique while simultaneously reviewing different scenarios and how to safely and effectively use their lifesaving skills if needed.
“This program empowers a future generation of lifesavers,” Chairperson for Secondary Health Education Lori Hewlett said. “The program has even inspired some students to enter into the medical field as a result.”
Throughout the years, the initiative has expanded to include the certification of faculty and staff across the district and has introduced fifth-grade students to hands-only CPR. At the conclusion of the middle school program, students who successfully complete a written and practical certification exam receive an official CPR certification card from the American Heart Association.
“I feel that I can now help people in need instead of being a bystander,” said Shantel, a seventh-grade health education student. “Our training has made me feel confident in the lifesaving skills we have learned.”