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High school bio-med pathway provides practical skill

Teacher's goal: CPR training for all students
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BY STEVE ARCHER

OF THE LINCOLN NEWS MESSENGER

All Lincoln High School students will have CPR training before they graduate, if one teacher has her way.

Amanda Retallack, a Lincoln High School science teacher, has a goal to train all students there in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation or CPR.  To achieve that goal, she encourages students in the Bio-medical Pathways program to learn the potentially life-saving technique and learn how to teach it.

“We do plan to start training in compression only CPR. Eventually, every student who graduates will be exposed to the training,” Retallack said Friday. “I had been looking for some kind of certification for my bio-med students. This is one of the easiest certifications to get. I was very excited when I first heard about it.”

So far, one senior and eight in the other grades, all girls, have trained to be CPR instructors.

“We met on two separate Saturdays,” Retallack said. 

“For them, training other students was a little nerve-wracking but I wanted to throw them in. I knew they could do it,” Retallack said. “They worked as a team and it was nice. Three first-year Bio-Med classes have been trained, which is about 110 students.”

According to Retallack, the Lincoln High bio-medical pathway is provided through Project Lead the Way. The high school offers three of the four bio-med classes offered though Project Lead the Way: principles of bio-med science; human body systems; and medical intervention and bio-medical innovation. Students enrolled in the pathway take one class per year. Lincoln High School does not currently offer bio-medical innovation.

“Each (class) has a laid-out curriculum,” Retallack said. “It’s a pretty cool program. It relates to the students’ interests in science. Also, they can learn DNA analysis, lab skills, vital signs. It’s a lot of fun to teach and the kids love it. The reason they stay in is because they are interested.”

Senior Sophia Huttie is one of the students trained as a CPR instructor. Training other students was a new experience, she said.

“For the most part, because they were already bio-medical pathway students, they were calm,” Huttie said. “There were no problems and they took it seriously. It made me feel great. I knew I was teaching someone how to save a life.”

“I think about how many people can be saved by learning CPR,” Huttie added. “I am very interested in neo-natal nursing; that’s my goal.”

Junior Gabrielle Camba, 16, can also instruct CPR.

“I’ve always been interested in the medical fields,” Camba said. “I signed up for the bio-medical pathway because I thought it would introduce me to different things I could do in the field, such as neurology, cardiology and forensic anthropology.”

Training other students, Camba said, was a different experience.

“You’re not their friend as much as their teacher, an authority figure,” Camba said. “I got to see what it’s like as an instructor and now I’m more confident in my teaching. I think it’s a good idea to train all high school students in CPR.”