The Latest CPR Tune

In California (AB 1719), a law was recently passed stating that CPR is a mandatory graduation requirement. So, this year, I started training high school seniors for the first time.

Before my first class, I was nervous. As a career classroom teacher, I should’ve been comfortable in front students, but I had previously taught everything BUT high school.

I knew I needed a hook. What could I share with the group that would get them engaged and to “buy in” to the class?

I gave them a task for their lunch break: Find a song with the beat of the current AHA standard for CPR compressions per minute (100-120).

This has gone up from the old standard of 90-110. Anyone who has ever taken a CPR class knows that the song “Stayin’ Alive” is the song you play. It’s a great song, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a bit dated for high school students. (When I played it, a couple had never even heard it before.)

After lunch, only one student brought her song to me. She had a huge smile on her face. She said, “It’s a more recent song, with a powerful message it in.”

I was excited to broaden my musical horizons. I slowly got her song ready, turned up her phone so we could all hear, and because to play the song.

I smiled. I instantly knew it! I would recognize that song anywhere: Cyndu Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!” She was right – it was more recent. And when I asked her about her choice, she said, “I just wanted a song with women in it.” We all got up and danced (before practicing to save lives).


Casey Donohue, Managing Partner of Get CPR Done