Freshman Zane Jakobs waits his turn to practice CPR on dummies during a course arranged by freshman Elena Lipman for her bat mitzvah project. (Photo by Manson Tung)

Freshman organizes CPR class for bat mitzvah project

“One, two, three, four,” the class chanted. That was the mantra of freshman Elena Lipman’s bat mitzvah project, required of every Jewish woman when she becomes a young adult (typically 13).

The Nov. 11 CPR and First Aid class, instructed by Lonna Pettigrew, gave a “Recipe for Life” to the 12 students in attendance.

The class was inspired by Lipman’s brother’s health problems. In 2005, Robert Lipman’s heart stopped for 13 seconds while he was being airlifted from Catalina Island to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Robert was on a field trip to the island when it happened, and when he first fainted, his friends threw water on him. He recovered but has worn a pacemaker ever since.

“It was one of the scariest moments of my life,” Elena said. “My mom was chaperoning the field trip, and my dad was with me. When we found out, we knew he was alive, but we weren’t sure what was going to happen.”

“It inspired me to organize the class as a way to give back the community,”

Elena herself took a CPR and First Aid class last year.

The Lipmans met Pettigrew through a neighbor whose son also had a heart condition. Both families went to Pettigrew’s CPR course to learn how to use a defibrillator. Elena liked Pettigrew as an instructor and asked her to teach the Country Day class.

Class participants will receive their certificates next week. The certificates will be good for two years, after which the participants will have to take the class again in to remain certified.  The certificate is required for some jobs and can be used as an asset on resumes.

The class consisted of an American Heart Association video along with a worksheet outlining the “Recipe for Life,” a sheet showing different methods of CPR depending on the person being treated, and a multiple-choice and fill-in-the blank test.

There were also adult and baby CPR dummies on which students practiced their skills. The practice with the dummies consisted of 30 compressions two inches deep followed by a tilting of the head backwards, and two short breaths, which were repeated.

Lipman’s mother provided dinner for the participants, serving Chinese chicken salad and vegetarian lasagna.

Although students liked the class, some felt the dummies were unrealistic.

“It wasn’t the most realistic thing you could have had, but it wasn’t bad,” freshman Zane Jakobs said. “I will definitely renew my certification.”

Participants had different reasons for taking the class.

“I want to be someone who helps other people medically in the future,” said senior Maddy Mahla. “I thought it would be a good first step.”


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