Students Take The Lead In CPR Class

Sixth-grader Jalen Kuhia-Smith demonstrates how to do hands-only CPR to first-graders Quaid Teachey and Jalen’s brother, Peyton Smith, while school nurse Carla Uchima-Toy monitors the lesson. Photo courtesy of Aikahi Elementary School.

Lives will be saved, thanks to a Legacy Project by the sixth-graders at Aikahi Elementary.

The class traditionally leaves its mark on campus in the form of projects, such artwork or a bench. This year, however, they opted for a living Legacy Project, which involved being trained in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and use of an automated external defibrillator by the Hawaii Heart Foundation (HHF).

Over a period of two months, 51 students joined a series of activities, which also included a two-hour session to learn the difference between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack.

“The bystander, family and friends have more power to save a life than any firefighter, nurse or doctor,” said HHF founder Pamela Foster. “We have been teaching kids to learn CPR and use the AEDs, and we already have several saves/survivors because of the program. People just need to know what to do and more lives will be saved.

“The children are able to learn the skill and then teach others – they learn community responsibility, as well as getting a chance to be the instructor.”

The students watched videos, received hands-on instruction and practiced in small groups. They also learned about the Chain of Survival, which begins with calling 911 and then administering CPR and an AED machine while waiting for emergency medical personnel to arrive. The sixth-graders then broke into groups of five and wrote their own CPR presentation, including a skit to demonstrate the Chain of Survival. Each group also trained students from younger grades, assisting them in practicing on dummies with the guidance of HHF members.

“We hope to do this project every year so that students will be better prepared in case of an emergency,” said teacher and grade level chairwoman Trisha Kim. “We used our P.E. time, so instructional time was not lost.

“This project really hit home for some of our students whose uncles, cousins or friends have died because of cardiac arrest.”