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Lifeguard culture

In the past few years, lifeguarding has become a popular part-time job for high school students. It is a great way to serve the community, as well as to meet other students.

In order to become a lifeguard, students have to take a training course with the City of Palo Alto. The course includes certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), using an automated external defibrillator (AED), first aid and other lifeguarding skills.

“Lifeguard [training] includes information on how to scan the pool, deal with frustrated patrons and make different types of rescues,” junior Kristina Savvateeva, lifeguard at Rinconada Pool, said.

Although the training course is rigorous, many believe that the lifeguarding experience is extremely rewarding. Junior Kyle Fisher, who has been a lifeguard for three years, loves working at Rinconada because of its pleasant environment.

“I enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and fun in the pool as well as bonding with a lot of my co-workers,” Fisher said.

Senior Maggie Schoenholtz, a lifeguard at Rinconada Pool and at Henry M. Gunn High School, expresses similar enthusiasm towards her experience.

“[Lifeguarding] is an amazing first job,” Schoenholtz said. “You learn leadership, responsibility and important skills [such as] first aid and CPR.”

In addition to gaining new skills, one of the most enjoyable parts of being a lifeguard is meeting students of a similar age with the same passion for lifeguarding.

“The City of Palo Alto lifeguard staff is very friendly,” Savvateeva said. “The lifeguards work as a team, which provides for a wonderful work environment.”

However, even though lifeguarding may appear to be a relaxing job, it is in fact a huge responsibility and can often be stressful, especially if a swimmer has undergone an injury. Junior Karina Goot, lifeguard at Rinconada pool, recalls a time when she had to rescue a patron who had passed out at the bottom of the pool

“[The rescue] was a scary incident, but I was grateful that lifeguarding gave me the skills needed to help save someone’s life,” Goot said.

Additionally, lifeguards are required to teach swimming lessons to children . Many lifeguards enjoy this opportunity to work with younger kids and inspire them to develop a passion for swimming.

“Since I enjoy swimming and working with kids, spending my summers outside in the sun with a young group of co-workers is a great experience,” Goot said.

Although lifeguarding can be stressful at times, it is a great opportunity for high school students who enjoy serving the community and meeting others with similar interests.

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