Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Spartans Save Lives

Posted 04/05/2018 by Maggie Foos

Mrs. Nicolo teaches students critical skills like how to use the backboard. photo by Maggie Foos

The lifeguarding class at TJ gives students an avenue to become certified lifeguards.

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the definition of lifeguard is “a usually expert swimmer employed at a beach or pool to safeguard other swimmers.” The students in the lifeguarding class at TJ learn the skills necessary to live up to this definition. Not only is it an engaging class, but it is also educational and provides students with experience that proves to be useful in everyday life.

A lifeguard must be mentally and physically capable to react to an emergency in or near the water. This requires focus and concentration when on the stand, as well as the physical capability to pull somebody out of the water if needed. Students are taught how to take care of themselves on and off duty to ensure a successful save if necessary. They are also taught necessary skills to be a successful lifeguard, including various shallow and deep water saves, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training, Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training, and first aid skills, as well as how to enter the water based on various situations. Senior Jake Downing got certified during his freshman year through Brittany Nicolo’s lifeguarding class, and has been a lifeguard ever since. He stated, “I would definitely take the class, because you learn about people, how to handle different situations, and you feel like you actually have purpose at work.”

The class is taught by Nicolo, who has been teaching it for five years. She enjoys teaching lifeguarding because it is different than just a simple swimming class. She stated, “You actually get into collaborating with each other and learning new skills that the majority of people don’t even know, like the CPR and AED. They are such new things that are lifelong skills,” Nicolo explained. She teaches the class at a rigorous level, forcing students to switch up partners to carry different body weights, as well as testing students on vocabulary and necessary knowledge every week.  

Through Nicolo’s lifeguarding class, students earn their Lifeguard Licensure which must be recertified after two years. They also get their CPR/First Aid/AED Licensure at the lifeguard level. They not only earn the physical licensures, but they learn life lessons and gain the ability to help in an emergency situation. The class is tight-knit, and students bond over their journey through the course. Nicolo’s lifeguarding class not only adds a sense of community to TJ, but it also makes the world a better, safer place.