GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) – Grand Island High School students are learning how to save lives this week.
A groundbreaking program is teaching every student – around 1,100 teens – the technique of “hands-only CPR,” which can be used to save someone who goes into cardiac arrest.
School officials wanted students to learn this valuable life lesson after it proved to be life saving for one of their middle school students.
“I looked at the student. The student was blue, non-responsive. I knew within that split second I had to start CPR,” said Eleanor Payne, assistant principal at Veronica E. Connor Middle School.
Within minutes, the 10-year-old girl was awake and crying in her mother’s arms. It was Payne’s quick thinking that saved the sixth grader’s life on the very first day of school.
“It was comforting and knowing that, oh my goodness, I’m grateful I had that training,” said Payne.
“I think it’s pretty cool that she did that and she had guts to do it,” said Grand Island freshman Braden Hawley.
Seeing the importance of CPR firsthand, school officials decided every high school student should know the basics.
“It’s good because we’re going to be the next grown-ups and the next people to save lives, so we have to know how to do it,” said Hawley.
Certified CPR instructors with Rural Metro are teaching students how to do the compressions and also give the students confidence.
“I feel relatively confident. I could do it,” said sophomore Brenton Fisher.
Annette Adamczak became an instructor after heartbreak.
“Who would think you would have to do CPR on your 14-year-old daughter?” said Adamczak.
Her daughter died from cardiac arrest.
“She was playing soccer on a local town field and collapsed and we did not start CPR in a timely fashion,” said Adamczak.
She’s made it her mission to change the future for others. Because of CPR, a sixth grade student still walks the halls at Veronica E. Connor Middle School.
“When I see her in the hall she looks at me, I look at her. We wink, we walk by, we exchange smiles, and we just go on our day. I’m just happy to see her every day,” said Payne.
Rural Metro and the American Heart Association have provided CPR classes to 17 school districts, training nearly 10,000 students.