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Students become lifeguards during school

Grace Tadajweski l Editor-In-Chief

While many students rely on the caffeinating power of coffee to wake them up during first period, 11 others can rouse themselves with a cold splash in the pool.

With the start of the new semester, students have begun taking the lifeguard certification course during first period. The half credit physical education course is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

“I like the class because I like that the kids walk away with an actual American Red Cross Certification,” said physical education teacher Angela Springborn. “So, they can get the P.E. credit, but they can also literally turnaround and go get a summer job.”

With the lifeguard certification that comes along with the successful completion of the course, many students in the class plan to become lifeguards. Following her certification, sophomore Alexis Bodie hopes to work at the school and Lebanon Country Club over the summer.

“I wanted to be a lifeguard because I used to swim when I was little, and I have a lot of friends on the school swim team,” said Bodie. “I think lifeguarding is not a very common job for students our age. When students our age tell you what job they have, it’s either ‘I work at a grocery store, a restaurant, or fast food chains.’”

Like Bodie, sophomore Ava Schreier mainly took the course to become a lifeguard, but she noted the corresponding benefit of completing a gym credit through the course. Schreier plans to work at either the Mt. Gretna Lake, where several of her friends work, or the Lebanon Country Club.

“I think the idea of being able to have a job where you get to work outside and enjoy the summer weather is a factor,” said Schreier. “Being able to learn beneficial and lifelong skills that can be used in all sorts of situations, including saving lives, was a big factor in motivating me to become a lifeguard.”

The class instructs students in the basics of being an entry-level lifeguard, including preventing and responding to medical emergencies before emergency medical services arrive. After learning these skills, students take the certification test at the end of the semester.

“I think I would be a good lifeguard because I am willing to take my job seriously and as accurate as possible,” said Bodie. “When guarding, you are the key part in life or death. People’s lives are on the line, so I would be willing to help and save others.”

On top of the standard lifeguard instructional material, the class teaches students professional-level First Aid, CPR, and AED training.

“I am still learning, so sometimes I doubt on whether or not I will be a good lifeguard,” said Schreier. “However, I feel confident that I have the responsibility, focus, athletic ability, and composure to be a good lifeguard.”

According to, the average lifeguard in Pennsylvania makes $13.43 per hour. The Lebanon Country Club starting wage is $10 while the Mt. Gretna Lake’s starting wage is $11.

“My favorite part about the class is that we are getting taught how to work with people,” said Bodie. “Not only working with the people you are trying to save but with your classmates. It teaches you massive amounts of responsibility and leadership.”

With only 10 others in the class, students are ensured a close, attentive learning experience. Because the instructional material is significant beyond the classroom, some feel that this environment is crucial.

“I would say my favorite part of the class is how interactive it is,” said Schreier. “While we do some ‘bookwork’ once in a while, most of the time we get to use dummies, do hands on CPR, swim, practice saves, etc.”

While most students who take this class plan to become a lifeguard, senior Wyatt Levan took the class solely to fill a physical education credit. If one enjoys swimming but does not plan to become a lifeguard, they could also take the aquatics course which centers around swimming technique.

“(I chose to take this class because) I enjoy the swimming portion of it,” said Levan. “I’ve taken enough regular gym classes, so I wanted to switch it up and try something I really like to do.”

The course costs $60 to take, including the certification test and the supplies cost. Many lifeguard certification courses cost over $200.

“Of course anyone remotely interested in being a lifeguard should take the course because the test is over half as cheap as anywhere else,” said Levan.

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