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Catholic Central Provides CPR Training to Freshmen at No Cost


This fall, Catholic Central rolled out a unique program to its students - CPR training and certification - with the goal of  the entire student body being certified by the end of the 2026 school year.

The idea originated from Mr. Mitch Hancock, dean of students, and Nurse Laura Helm, Catholic Central’s registered nurse. 

“It was a collaborative idea that we all thought would be nice if our students were certified, so I took the reins to get certified myself as a trainer and then after coordinating the curriculum with the health instructor, Mr. Joe Mach, we were able to fully implement the program this fall,” said Helm.

What makes this program unique is that most high schools pay a fee to have a certified trainer to host a class, which can become costly for schools. Helm is authorized by The American Heart Association to teach The American Heart Association CPR classes and certify students at no cost to the school or its students.The certification lasts for two years, which means students will retake the training their junior year to reinstate their certification for the remainder of their high school career. 

“The students have to complete a hands-on skills test where they go through each step of the CPR process and demonstrate how to properly conduct CPR on a person,” said Helm. “The program covers first aid basics, heart and stroke care, how to identify an emergency situation, and even how to identify an allergic reaction and so much more useful knowledge for these students to have as they navigate life. This may help students as they participate in sports and other activities in school, but also vital skills if they find themselves in a situation where someone is in danger.”

This fall, half the freshmen went through intensive training as part of their health class. The  second half of the freshmen class will be trained during the spring semester. Each incoming freshmen class the next three years will receive training, so all students will be certified by 2026. 

Thomas Ongena ‘24 is a transfer student who completed the course to earn his health credit and says while he doesn’t plan to pursue a career in the healthcare industry, he finds the lessons taught and training received invaluable.

“The whole class in general was very helpful. It was a great first step for those who are interested in the health field that may not have the opportunity to be certified otherwise,” said Ongena. “The CPR training is nice because you know what you can do to keep others safe or help someone in need.”

Helm added that she felt her students really enjoyed learning hands on and what the process is and the steps to save a life. “It gave them more security and comfort to apply CPR if needed and to step up in an emergency situation,” she said.

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