BEAVERTON — Valley Catholic Middle School in 2011 launched CPR training for eighth-graders in partnership with Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue. The students not only mastered hands-only CPR, but got prepared to teach it to others.

The program has caught the interest of some state legislators who want to make the project a standard part of school curriculum. The idea is to bring more than 45,000 trained lifesavers to the state.

The Valley Catholic program was the first of its kind in Oregon and allows students to play an important role in raising awareness about hands-only CPR, which means compressing the chest at a rate of about 100 times per minute without mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The American Heart Association says the method works just as well as traditional CPR for adults in sudden cardiac arrest.

Students were invited to join Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue at a hearing in Salem last month. Eighth graders Binh Luu, Joanna Duyck and Amanda Nguyn and ninth graders Ermina Lee and Kyle Guthrie helped lawmakers understand the benefits of the training. Also on hand was Herb Lommen, PE teacher at Valley Catholic Middle School.

Lee, as a student ambassador, she was charged with training at least five friends and family members. She exceeded that goal, training 60 people.

About 383,000 people have cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year, and only 11 percent survive, most likely because they don’t receive timely CPR. Given right away, CPR doubles or triples survival rates.