ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – Two Isle of Wight County schools have been recognized by the state of Virginia for becoming the first in the area to earn the designation of “Project ADAM heart safe schools.”

Windsor Elementary and Westside Elementary are the two schools who were recognized Thursday. The designation was granted by a team from Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, the first and only Project ADAM affiliate in Virginia. CHoR began working with Project ADAM in November 2022.

“When you consider that 20 percent of a community is in its schools most days – during educational time, sports and other extracurricular activities – many lives can be saved through access to AEDs and proper education and practice to address sudden cardiac arrest,” said Dr. John Phillips, pediatric cardiologist and electrophysiologist and Project ADAM medical director at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. “Westside and Windsor Elementary Schools have paved the way as the first schools in the state of Virginia to earn the designation of Project ADAM heart safe schools. This accomplishment signifies Isle of Wight County Schools’ commitment not only to the health and safety of their students and team members, but their community as a whole.

Project ADAM, short for Automated Defibrillation in Adam’s Memory, was created in memory of 17-year-old, Adam Lemel, who died from sudden cardiac arrest while playing basketball in 1999.

By becoming “Project ADAM heart safe,” it means that the staff at the schools are prepared to respond to sudden cardiac arrest and possibly save a life by learning and adhering to 14 different safety criteria, such as CPR training, having AED devices on campus to monitor the heart’s rhythm and educating staff about the program and emergency response plans.