South’s healthcare opportunities


Photoshopped Image created by Shree Delwadia with Photo via Flicker under Creative Commons license by Wellness GM

The world of healthcare. Healthcare is diverse field that consists of different jobs and opportunities for many people. Students in Forsyth County have seen other high schools with a healthcare pathway; yet, many have not realized that South Forsyth High School created a path of its own for healthcare students.

Imagine what graduating high school will be like. Some of us look forward to the day when we walk across the stage to accept our diplomas. That day, walking across the stage, receiving a diploma, and moving the tassel on the cap from right to left, would mean the world to anyone. On graduation day, the hours put into school, the dedication put into the work, and the strength that has been enabled throughout the years of high school will pay off. However, some of us enter high school with a vision for the future; a future that is planned; a future that is connected to a passion; a future that has a foundation. Many of us are so dedicated to this future image, that we are ready to begin this journey freshman year, focusing our efforts on a field.

Earlier this year, I applied to Lambert High School for out-of-district in the hopes of being a part of their Healthcare Pathway. From a young age, I knew that I had always wanted to be a doctor. My dreams consisted of helping others while combining my passions for curiosity and medicine. However, the first time I applied, I got denied due to population reasons. I had the option to write an appeal to their decision, which I completed due to my vast interest in healthcare. The second email I received declined my application once again. This application caused me to realize that we should have the opportunity to be part of a pathway that benefits our future career or field of interest.

“I was frustrated when I got districted to South because I am very passionate about medicine,¨ said freshman Sanchitha Rajesh. ¨I felt like I was missing out from unique experiences in the field since South doesn’t have a healthcare pathway.”

Personally, my idea of a pathway was a series of three or four specific classes taken throughout the course of one’s high school years. I believed that in order to learn about healthcare, I must be in the healthcare pathway. As a freshman, when I came to South Forsyth High School, my mind was wrapped around the fact that South does not provide a healthcare pathway. I was convinced that South did not have any classes or programs that benefited or gave me the hands-on experience I needed to gain early knowledge within the healthcare field. Alongside my beliefs, many of my friends shared my feelings too.

“I was upset that South did not have a healthcare pathway because I feel like the experience I need for my career choice would be given to me in the pathway,” said freshman Gavin Cullinan. “I feel like I am, along with many others in this school, missing many interesting opportunities in healthcare.”

After interviewing South Forsyth High School’s principal, Laura Wilson, I learned about the different options, classes, and extracurriculars at South that are available to students interested in healthcare.

“Students are overly worried about class titles and less worried about learning content. Learning should be the focus,” said Ms. Wilson. “South students have every opportunity they need to be successful in any field they choose including healthcare. Students are shortsighted in constantly comparing themselves to students at other schools. Making the most of the opportunities presented here is what has value. Deep learning instead of GPA chasing and resume building will prevail in the long run.”

Ms. Wilson not only opened my eyes to the different options around me at South, but she also painted the bigger picture of learning and building a foundation in high school. Starting in high school, students interested in healthcare may want to begin thinking about different ways to expose themselves to the different levels and types of science classes offered at South. South offers many advanced science courses such as AP Biology and AP Chemistry, giving students the chance to participate in higher-level thinking classes, similar to college courses. Additionally, these classes provide hands-on laboratory experience that would be done in other healthcare classes.

Other classes at South such as epidemiology, forensic science, anatomy, and physiology allow students to discover the different areas within the medical field. Many teachers, having worked in different fields, allow students to learn about the various careers offered in healthcare and choose the path they want to be a part of. All the different classes that South offers allow students to explore their passions and interests in medicine. In the end, no student can complete a “pre-med” major. Students in medical school come with all different types of undergraduate degrees. A major benefit of the advanced and college-level science classes at South is that they strengthen students knowledge for undergraduate work. Even though undergraduate school is one step when going into medicine, starting strong will help keep one’s head held high along the whole journey. Additionally, the science courses will aid when students are preparing for the Medical College Admission Test, MCAT.

SFHS also has opportunities for healthcare students within their clubs. Extracurriculars such as HOSA-Future Health Professionals and MD Junior provide insight and hands-on experience in the medical field. For example, South’s HOSA provides students with competitions, workshops, presentations, and activities in healthcare. This is beneficial for students who have a strong passion for the field because it offers unique opportunities to learn and discover. The teacher support within the club lets students know that the information and experiences they have are concrete. Furthermore, these clubs allow students to meet other students who have the same passion for healthcare; this allows students to help each other aim higher and achieve the greatest.

For students who want to benefit their future career in healthcare, exploring the different options at the county level is very valuable. Programs within the county include Work-Based Learning (WBL) and the Honors Mentorship Program. These programs give students the option to shadow or align themselves with professionals in the field of medicine. Additionally, being part of the Governor’s Honor Program and dual enrollment can benefit students’ future careers.

The healthcare field is quite diverse. Many of the students at South have a vast interest in medical research or becoming licensed in a medical career. However, for students interested in other areas, such as becoming a technician in hospitals, there are different routes students can take. Students could participate in dual enrollment with Lanier Technical College. Lanier Tech offers training, college credits, and a CNA/Nursing option ,which is close to or even more beneficial than being part of the healthcare pathway. Georgia Tech also offers Distance learning- DL-genetics which helps students understand the science behind the human body. Learning about the deeper aspects of science is greatly beneficial when going to medical school.

South might not have an actual “healthcare pathway” but it has designed its own kind of pathway.  I have learned that a title does not define anything. South Forsyth has clubs, classes, and other programs that allow students interested in healthcare to have a successful future. The environment, teachers, and students at South are the reason I look forward to coming to school every day. With the growing interest in healthcare, South is also exploring different opportunities for students.

“We are exploring a pharmacology program that students could participate in outside of school or perhaps online during the school day,” said Ms. Wilson. “We hope to share information we learn before registration for the 2019-2020 school year.”

After learning about the different opportunities in the healthcare field at South, I have begun planning out my future in medicine. That day I walk across the graduation stage, I will be nothing but smiles knowing that I have set myself up for excellence within the medical field.