In addition to an outstanding academic curriculum, students at Valley Catholic Middle School get practical lessons in saving lives.

In 2011, Valley Catholic Middle School launched hands-only CPR training for eighth-graders in partnership with Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue (TVF&R). The students master hands-only CPR then teach it to others. The program was the first of its kind in Oregon.

Hands-only CPR means compressing the chest at a rate of about 100 times per minute without mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The American Heart Association says the method works just as well as traditional CPR for adults in sudden cardiac arrest.

Each year, Valley Catholic Middle School students teach hands-only CPR to an average of 1,500 people.

Valley Catholic Middle School and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue were leaders in encouraging the Oregon Legislature to make hands-only CPR a graduation requirement in Oregon. In June 2015, Governor Kate Brown signed the bill and Oregon became the 23rd state requiring students to learn CPR before high school graduation.

Starting in the 2015-2016 school year, Oregon students in grades 7 through 12 began receiving CPR training and learning how to use an automated external defibrillator in physical education or health class. It was estimated that the law would ultimately equip about 35,000 graduates each year with the lifesaving skill.

“We like our classes to have real-world implications,” Valley Catholic Middle School Principal Jennifer Gfroerer told the Beaverton Valley Times. “This partnership fell right into three areas of our curriculum, including the service component of religion, health and English.”

As of fall 2017, with the program  in its seventh year, Valley Catholic students have trained more than 9,000 people, resulting in five known lives saved.

Photo album: Saving lives through hands-only CPR (training at Washington Square in February 2017)

Video: Class of 2016 Hands-Only CPR Commencement Awards
On Class Day 2016, State Rep. Margaret Doherty (35th District) and Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue (TVF&R) Chief Mike Duyck joined Valley Catholic CPR/AED and First Aid Education Coordinator Herb Lommen in presenting red-and-white honors cords to the graduating seniors who were the first to take part in hands-only CPR training as Valley Catholic eighth graders. Rep. Doherty serves on the House Education Committee and was a leader in supporting Oregon’s hands-only CPR legislation. Chief Duyck led TVF&R’s support for the bill.