Skip to main content

The ACT High School CPR Program is known for engaging and exciting young people about emergency preparedness – but Calgary student Ben Roth went above and beyond when he stepped up and volunteered to actually help teach the program to his peers.

As Ben has been swimming since he was a child and is now a trained lifeguard, he enjoyed the ACT program immediately and wanted to be a part of it.

“I thought the school did a great job covering the basics of what you need to do in an emergency situation, but I wanted to help,” said Ben, who also teaches swimming lessons.

“I put together the mannequins, demonstrated how to work them for the class, and helped with some of the lectures,” said Ben. “Then the next year, I came in and taught a lot of the CPR program to the Grade 10 students.”

“Learning CPR and being a lifeguard was my goal as a 10-year-old,” said Ben. “I’ve wanted to do this for a very long time. Being a lifeguard and taking the ACT High School CPR Program have been my first steps to becoming a lifesaver as a doctor.”

“It is outstanding to see this kind of knowledge and leadership in students who take our program,” said Sandra Clarke, Executive Director of the ACT Foundation. “The program often boosts students’ interest in health care as a career choice, and we are so happy with the initiative that Ben has taken.”

“He was phenomenal,” said Arlene Buchan, the phys-ed teacher who runs ACT’s lifesaving program in Calgary’s Dr. E.P. Scarlett High School.

“He has a great sense of humour, so all the attention was on him and the kids were really listening,” said Arlene. “He used scenarios that the kids would relate to, and I think he actually did a better job of the lecture than we do.”

“In the quiz after the class was completed, it was really noticeable how much the students had retained,” said Arlene.

“I was in the lecture with him and if I interjected we would co-teach…but I really didn’t need to step in often,” she said with a laugh. “He even brought his own supplies.”

“I always feel like other people listen to me when I have something to say, and right now I have something to say that is important,” said Ben.

“I think learning CPR is a really good idea,” said Ben. “Emergencies like this are hopefully something that most students won’t experience – but they should all know how to react if they do.”

Ben said his parents were happy to hear about his leadership in helping teach the ACT High School CPR Program to his peers.

“It is kind of a normal thing in my life to take on opportunities like this,” he said with a laugh. “So my parents weren’t extremely surprised…but they were definitely pretty proud.”

“He has always been really comfortable in front of a group,” said Ben’s father Clayton. “He doesn’t have a shy bone in his body.”

“We’re very proud of him,” said Clayton. “He is a great kid.”

The ACT High School CPR Program was made possible in Ben’s school thanks to generous community and provincial-level support which enabled the donation of mannequins, teacher training and curriculum resources. Community partners in Calgary are the Kiwanis Clubs of Calgary (Chinook, Downtown, Foothills, Metro and Northmount), while provincial partners of the program are Alberta Education and the STARS Foundation (a founding provincial partner in this province).

Core partners supporting the program in Alberta and throughout Canada are companies in the research-based pharmaceutical industry: AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada, Pfizer Canada and sanofi-aventis. They provide ACT’s sustaining funding and are committed to the Foundation’s national goal of promoting health and empowering Canadians to save lives.

The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is an award-winning, national charitable organization dedicated to establishing CPR in high schools across Canada. ACT raises funds to donate mannequins, teacher training, manuals and other materials to schools, and guides schools in program set-up and long-term sustainability. Teachers teach CPR to their students as a regular part of the curriculum. More than 900,000 youth have been trained in CPR through this lifesaving program to date.