SAN ANTONIO - A pharmacist, pediatrician or ophthalmologist--students at Memorial High School are getting a head start in the medical field by joining the health and science program.
"A lot of students do not get this opportunity, so for them to leave high school with certifications and to begin their future, they can get jobs above minimum wage to help support themselves through the nursing program or to become doctors," CTA Department Chair and Health-Science Instructor, Wanda Johnston said.
Complete with a mock medical clinic as a classroom, the school earned the title as the Go Public Cool School winner for October.
"Coming from the west side of San Antonio I'm just here to help them grow to become professionals in the future," Johnston said. "They need to take care of us when we get older."
For students like junior Edward Fonseca, who aspires to be a pharmacist, this program has been life-changing.
"At first I wasn't really motivated so I would just get to school and leave, now I am the last one to leave," Fonseca said.
Fonseca has to take on double the classes to complete his pharmacy technician certification and he credits his mentor, Edward Valderas, a San Antonio Firefighter, for pushing him.
"Since I met Edward last year, he's now vice president of student council, he's in pep squad, he does powerlifting, he put in 100 hours of community service last year," Valderas said.
With dozens of students in the program, they get to work with partnering clinics to train on real patients--making the experiences more like workplace training instead of a high school class.
"You build a bond with the patients and I feel like it gets you stronger to pursue that career," Senior Arin Douglas said.
Douglas will graduate with her medical assistant certification and hopes to become a pediatrician.
This magnet program is continuing to attract students within Edgewood Independent School District and Johnston says she “couldn't be prouder.”
"I do what I do because I know these students really deserve the opportunity to learn and to become part of a healthcare profession there are so many opportunities out there in healthcare," Johnston said.
For more information on Go Public, you visit their website: www.WeGoPublic.com.
The November contest will feature Northside Independent School District.
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