CHESTER – With quick rhythm and definitive action, students are learning to save lives.

And they’re only in the 5th and 6th grades.

“We learned CPR, the Heimlich and ways to save people if anything bad happens in the world,” says 11 year old Sofia Yumbla.

“Never too young. If you’re able to do the compressions, you can get certified,” says James Grzybowski, Fire Chief for the Chester Hose Company and Facilities Manager at Chester Elementary School who spearheaded this initiative.

The school holds “academies” each year…giving kids a chance to learn a special skill.

This is called “Heart Heroes Academy.”

“The kids were really energetic, really want to learn,” says Grzybowski.

“Anyone could have a heart attack or cardiac arrest at any time. It could be your family, it could be a stranger, it could be anywhere,” says 11 year old Joe McAndrew, a 5th grader.

The students also learned how to use an AED, an automated external defibrillator.

The public was reminded of the importance of this issue after the recent collapse of football player Damar Hamlin on the field.

“It’s a perfect example,” says Grzybowski. “When someone collapses out wherever you are, if someone gets there and is able to start CPR, it gives them the best chance to survive and that’s been proven.”

After five weeks, these kids will soon take a test and Grzybowski is confident they will all be certified.

Young students mastering a wise lesson, hoping to inspire those of all ages to tackle this vital skill.

“I think it’s actually pretty easy to learn and everyone should learn how to do it,” says McAndrew.

The hope is to continue these academies twice a year and to possibly open the opportunity up to students in Deep River and Essex, as well.