Saving Lives: From the Classroom to the Real World

By Elizabeth Hsing-Huei Chou, EGP Staff Writer

Fourteen-year old Hector Paz recalled that when he saw his grandmother having a heart attack, he froze.

“I just panicked, and I didn’t know what to do,” he said. Thankfully, she survived, he said. But if it happens again, he will be ready to help her.

This past semester Paz earned a certificate to perform CPR through an Introduction to Health Services class at his high school, and earlier this month he taught people at a local mall how to perform the life-saving procedure.

His health services teacher, Marla Keeth, organized the CPR event at The Shops at Montebello mall where a group of teens from her class taught young and old how to revive someone if their heart stops.

The students demonstrated the technique on a dummy, showing that each chest compression had to be performed to the same beat as that of the disco-era classic, “Staying Alive,” thumping in the background.

Hector Paz, left, and Gabriela Rodriguez show a mall goer the correct pressure for pressing down on a cardiac arrest victim during CPR. (EGP photo by Elizabeth Hsing-Huei Chou)

Paz attends the Applied Technology Center, a new career-oriented high school opened last fall where students can choose to take courses centered around a particular field like law, health, engineering and hospitality. He is among the 230 ninth graders who are about to complete the first year at Montebello Unified School District’s newest high school.

His classmate Gabriela Rodriguez, 15, says she will be picking the law pathway next year, but said the Introduction to Health Services class helped her gain some real world tools. Whenever she dishes out some practical advice to friends or family who are feeling a little ill, “people are really surprised,” she says.

This past year, the students had numerous classrooms outside the buildings on Mine Avenue in Montebello where their school is located. They visited professors at Loyola Law School, attended a sports medicine seminar at Staples Center, and participated in a “decontamination drill” at Beverly Hospital where they used their knowledge of various diseases to stump nurses and doctors.

According to the school’s principal, Patricia Luckeroth, one student had an opportunity to use his recently acquired skills in a real life situation.

The student, Joe Gonzalez, saw a car accident on the corner of Olympic and Montebello. He ran over to help pry the passengers out of the car. As he was doing so, he was getting himself ready, thinking, “If they are not breathing I have to perform CPR.”

Print This Post Print This Post

June 21, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


Comments are intended to further discussion on the article topic. EGPNews reserves the right to not publish, edit or remove comments that contain vulgarities, foul language, personal attacks, racists, sexist, homophobic or other offensive terminology or that contain solicitations, spam, or that threaten harm of any sort. EGPNews will not approve comments that call for or applaud the death, injury or illness of any person, regardless of their public status. Questions regarding this policy should be e-mailed to

 characters available

Copyright © 2018 Eastern Group Publications/EGPNews, Inc. ·