featuring the work of young journalists from Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District High Schools
On Wednesday, February 19, students at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School in Tottenham began a first aid training course. The Grade 11 and 12 students participated as part of a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program that is offered at the school. The group was able to practice CPR and AED training in addition to learning useful life skills such as taking initiative.
A Specialist High Skills Major is a program that provides high school students with opportunities and experiences for their future. St. Thomas Aquinas offers three different SHSM programs specific to certain paths post secondary school: non-profit, health and wellness, and automotive. All SHSM programs require students to enrol in specific classes for each one, but all three offer students experience in the fields they hope to pursue. Throughout the program, SHSM students gain experience through workshops and courses like first aid training, which are free for SHSM students.
All students who attended the first aid, AED and CPR training on February 19 were participants of the Non-Profit SHSM. The program is designed to interest students who want to work in areas of leadership such as law enforcement, education and journalism.
St. Johns Ambulance taught 13 students CPR, AED and basic first aid skills. In fact, students learned much more than just how to bandage wounds and stop someone from choking.
“I think everyone, young and old, should be trained in first aid. It’s always such a positive experience working with high school students. The main thing I hope students might take away from the training I provided is confidence in themselves so that if they see something is wrong they can stop and offer assistance,” expressed Micheal B. who has worked as a St. Johns Ambulance First Aid Trainer and Instructor for decades.
Victoria D., a Grade 11 student who participated in the first aid training, explained that she felt the opportunity had taught her both hands-on and leadership skills. “It was such a good experience, even better than I thought it would be. Our instructor taught us skills that could be life-saving in emergency situations but I also gained a new sense of confidence to take initiative. After thinking on my feet and learning to trust my instincts, I definitely feel like I’ve gained a new trust in myself, and that I am capable and confident in what I can do.”
The Non-Profit SHSM students are grateful for this experience and as instructor Michael stated, “I hope that everyone stays safe so that they won’t have to use the training they learned today!” The students agreed that the newfound leadership skills they gained will benefit them far into their futures.