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Why Gainesville High educators were recognized by an Atlanta hospital
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Teachers and nurses from Gainesville High School were recognized Monday for resuscitating two students who suffered cardiac arrest this year. - photo by Gainesville City Schools

Two Gainesville High School students might not be here today had it not been for the life-saving efforts of a group of educators at the high school. 

Over the course of the school year, two students collapsed suddenly and had to be resuscitated using CRP and in-school defibrillators, devices that shock a person’s heart back to life after they have suffered cardiac arrest. 

At Monday’s school board meeting, Gainesville High School was designated a “heart safe school” by the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, whose Project SAVE program partners with schools to help them prevent sudden cardiac death.

“I really commend your school district for being so prepared for these kinds of events,” said Jeremy Russie, Children’s Project SAVE coordinator. “If somebody does CPR on the scene, they use an (automated external defibrillator), these kids come in, we fix them up, they go home and they live a normal life. So it's very important to do this training.” 

The students’ names were not released for confidentiality reasons, and officials did not provide details about what happened. 

About half a dozen Gainesville High educators were recognized for their heroism and awarded with certificates from Children’s Healthcare and “hero coins” from AED Brands, the company that supplies Gainesville City Schools’ defibrillators. 

“Hopefully you keep that coin on your desk and every time you look at that coin, you know that you were very instrumental in saving the students’ lives,” said Christine Doran, a consultant for AED Brands.  

Children’s Healthcare and AED Brands partner to replace AED batteries and pads at schools free of charge. 

Dawn Wales, health services coordinator for Gainesville City Schools, said the reason for enrolling in a program like Project SAVE, is that they “have encountered cardiac emergencies in the past and we want our staff to be trained to help if an emergency occurs that may involve a cardiac event.” 

Superintendent Jeremy Williams commended those involved for going above and beyond their standard duties as educators.