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La Crosse 5th graders learn emergency medical lessons from older students during Spence Elementary program



A young student practices CPR procedure during a health science program at Spence School on Nov. 16, 2023 (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

CPR and the Heimlich maneuver were among the important lessons Thursday for several fifth graders at La Crosse’s Harry Spence Elementary School.

Spence was visited by local high school students taking part in a Health Science Academy, who led demonstrations of emergency rescue techniques.

Students in La Crosse’s Health Science Academy show 5th graders at Spence Elementary how to check for a pulse on Nov. 16, 2023 (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

Academy instructor Jennifer Voigt said the 13 students in her program are all interested in finding careers in medicine or science.

She said they are learning lessons from the exercises, just as the younger kids are.

“For some of (the older students), they’re definitely outside their comfort zone,” Voigt said, “but we’re always just very proud of them. They do an excellent job.”

She added that for some of those instructors, it’s “right up their alley.”

Using practice dummies, the science students gave basic instructions on performing CPR and responding to other medical emergencies.

Voigt admitted that the chances of the 5th graders having to use adult CPR are “pretty small, truthfully, but at the same time, at least you would feel like, ‘OK, I kinda know what to do. I can’t make it worse, unless I don’t do anything.'”

Voigt said giving lessons in elementary schools is new to the students in the academy.

Until recently, instead of visiting schools, her students would travel to the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota to practice what they’ve learned.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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