BROOKSVILLE — If there were to be some type of medical emergency at Eastside Elementary School, an entire grade level of students has a good idea how to handle it.
Science resource teacher Wanda Bailey and physical education coach Michael Adams recently teamed to give their fifth-graders a basic understanding of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, using a training kit from the American Heart Association.
"You never know when they will be the ones to be home and be the one who needs to know what to do in an emergency situation," Bailey said. "Everyone needs to know what to do in an emergency, even if they're 11."
There could also be another benefit.
"We're hoping this will encourage some of them to go into the medical field," Bailey said.
The teachers tied this skill in with other classroom lessons. Adams taught students about the heart and how it works.
"I teach about the circulatory system," Bailey said.
Students took turns approaching a half dummy — a head and torso with two settings, child and adult — to practice CPR. Four steps were emphasized, 10-year-old Samuel Daniels said.
"See if the person's breathing, then shake them, and if they still don't wake up, get someone to call 911. Then you push down on their heart," he said.
Julia Jestes, 11, talked about the value of learning CPR.
"(It's) so in case of an emergency we can take care of the person, and if we're alone we don't have to go crazy looking for someone. We can take care of it," she said.
Bailey mentioned that Julia was present recently when a child fainted.
"She offered (to help), but there were adults there to handle it," Bailey said. "But it was nice that she was prepared and was confident enough to offer."
The CPR program was given over a week's time. At the end, Katrina Hopson, 11, said, "I hope to know that I can save someone's life one day."
Nyaziah Richardson, 11, agreed. He wanted to participate to "learn how to save somebody's life."
Most of the students practiced on and succeeded with the child setting on the dummy. Lavarus Bates, 12, worked hard enough to manage the more difficult level.
"Lavarus has practiced and practiced so that he could complete it on an adult setting," Bailey said.
"When I was just doing the hard one," Lavarus said, "it felt a little easy to me, so if it was a real person I could save their life."
Hunter Hansen, 11, said he was amazed that he was learning CPR in his science class, " because I thought science was chemicals and writing. It's not just chemicals. They're teaching us to save people's lives."