WATSONVILLE -- Watsonville Fire Capt. Fernando Tapiz showed approximately 20 Watsonville High School freshmen a chart of a human torso Wednesday morning, emphasizing the importance of learning CPR.
"Yesterday we got a call for a 62-year-old man who had no pulse, wasn't breathing, and we brought him back to life," said Tapiz, who has worked at Watsonville Fire Station 1 for 29 years. "This alone could save someone's life."
The students learned basic compression skills on CPR manikins in a 20-minute session as part of Civics Day. The students toured nine facilities on Wednesday including the Watsonville Fire Department, Watsonville City Council chamber, Watsonville Police Department and the Watsonville Public Library to learn public services that will culminate in multimedia class projects.
"The students are the ones who need to know how things work and why things work," said Watsonville Mayor Lowell Hurst, who led a discussion on his job duties at the Watsonville City Council chamber.
The school hopes to augment the students' understanding of their role in the Watsonville community, said teacher Tom Sullivan.
"We're trying to instill community pride and awareness at the school," Sullivan said.
For each station, the students had to ask a key question, such as "Where does Watsonville sit in the scheme of Santa Cruz County and the Monterey Bay?" They discussed this question at the California Agricultural Workers' History
The event was an ideal hands-on learning experience, said 14-year-old Amanda Torrez.
"It's a good experience; it's teaching me to think," Torrez said. "It was a good idea for all of us to come."
The students took photographs and filmed at the stations, giving them a fresh perspective on topics including the role of city officials, said 15-year-old Ariana Tapia.
"It was a fun experience, especially since we'll turn it into a project," Tapia said.
After they've collected all of their footage, the students will create PowerPoint presentations on their daylong field trip. The final presentations will hopefully be a compelling and rich source of learning, Hurst said.
"What students really want to know is, 'What's the action like and how many love letters do you get a day,'" Hurst said with a laugh. "Hopefully, they'll learn the scope of services. They're always curious."
Follow Sentinel reporter Bonnie Horgos on Twitter at Twitter.com/bhorgos