One never knows when a situation necessitating CPR will arise — and Daniela Contreras is no exception.
Contreras said she knew she had to help when a woman passed out at the wheel while driving.
“My mom didn’t know how to do anything,” she said. “I had health class last year, so I kind of knew how to do CPR.”
Now Contreras is on track to become certified in CPR, thanks to a class at Grand Island Senior High’s Academy of Medical Sciences. Contreras is a sophomore enrolled in the academy and one of about 160 students being taught and getting certified in CPR.
The academy’s sophomores have been studying and practicing both online and on “dummies” for several months. This week small groups took turns being tested for certification. On Tuesday, Jake Myers, who teaches Foundations of Medical Science at the academy, conducted certification testing.
“They had a lot of fun,” Myers said after a group of three test-takers left. “They were way more excited to get in here than they were to do the skills videos.”
Contreras said among watching videos, taking notes and doing hands-on learning exercises, the class has been well worth it.
“The class is really fun,” she said.
While Contreras had some degree of CPR experience, she said being certified will hone her life-saving skills.
“It helps a lot,” she said.
Two years ago, several Grand Island Public Schools teachers became certified. A plan to expand the offering to students was on track until the coronavirus pandemic hit, putting the coursework on pause. This year’s CPR endeavor, Myers said, is the school’s biggest.
“This year is the first real test of seeing 160-plus students getting their certification,” he said.
“Hopefully, one day we could branch out. I know before COVID happened the Academy of Law and Education reached out wanting to get teacher candidates certified in CPR.”
In addition to its more traditional schooling, GISH has six academies focusing in different career and life skills. The academy structure brings together students, teachers and community members to apply student interest to academic success — as well as learning life skills, such as CPR.
Contreras said she plans on going to medical school and learning CPR is a good fit.
“It’s been pretty cool,” she said. “I’ve been learning things and using things I can try — just learning how to save someone if there’s anything happening. I will feel a little more confident.”