The partnership between Rush Foundation Hospital and the American Heart Association has brought CPR instruction to students at West Lauderdale, Northeast Lauderdale and Lamar Schools in the 2003-2004 school year.
West Lauderdale junior Kristen Rigdon, who is certified in administering CPR, has actually performed it in a real emergency.
"I was really nervous at the time, but having the experience made me feel like I'd be more comfortable if the situation arose again," Rigdon said.
Some students are already planning or thinking about a career in the medical field.
"I feel like that everybody who works in a hospital or a medical field setting should be CPR certified, so they can use that knowledge to help other people whenever situations arise," said Samantha Kinard, who is also CPR certified.
Rush Hospital trained the instructors and provided the funding to purchase CPR instruction materials.
"Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of people in our area," said Sheryl Allen, Rush coordinator for the American heart Association. "Our goal is to teach a thousand students per year how to perform CPR correctly."
"Preventing deaths is the number one goal of the American Heart Association," said American Heart Association regional director Wink Wright.
The CPR instruction program will be expanded to Southeast Lauderdale, Clarkdale and Meridian High Schools in the fall.