Over 1,000 Mound Westonka High School students and staff learn Heart Safe training

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As students filed into the Mound Westonka High School gym, they were gearing up for a day unlike any other.

There were more than two dozen first responders on hand to teach students compression-only CPR.

"I think it’s really cool our school is doing this," said senior Kate McGown.

There was music being played to keep the beat of 100 compressions per minute, to lighten the mood, as students grew more confident in their ability to learn a serious-type of training.

"To have the confidence to be able to help someone if they were to fall is really a cool experience," added McGown.

Upstairs, firefighters and police officers explained how to use AEDs.

The electric shock machines are positioned in every school in the district.

"I think a lot of people wait for other people to act, and they watch, but going through this training enables those kids and gives them that leadership, that confidence to take charge of that situation," said John Wardlow, a health and gym teacher at the school, and organizer of this event.

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With roughly 200 students in each eighth to 12th-grade class, more than 1,100 students and staff have learned how to do compression CPR and use an AED.

"I think it's a good skill that our school is giving us, so I'm pretty happy with them taking the time to be able to tell us these things, because if we can save a life that's worth it, even if it's just one," said senior Conner Jones.

Gene Johnson is one of those survivors. He shared his story with the students.

"Oh, it means the world to me to get the message out," he said.

Johnson was saved 17 years ago after suffering sudden cardiac arrest. He was overwhelmed and grateful for seeing all these students learn the life-saving training.

"To me, it’s the most wonderful day for me, that I can imagine," Johnson said.

The district hopes to do this large scale training every few years.

In addition to the schools, Wardlow says there is now a push to get an AEDs at every athletic field in the Mound Westonka School District.