With parents, siblings and others watching, newly enrolled Newark High School students participating in Project Lead the Way’s Biomedical Sciences program were formally initiated into the four-year-old college and career readiness program.
Each of the 24 new students who were able to attend the event received white lab coats during an evening program at the school.
Giving new students lab coats, a symbolic and motivating gesture, was borrowed from a University of Rochester Medical School tradition. The PLTW-BMS Community Partnership team made up of area biomedical professionals, parents, educators and students liked the idea and started a similar tradition two years ago in hopes of creating a greater sense of belonging for new students in the program as well as enhancing community spirit and hometown pride in their work.
Before the newly enrolled students were helped into their new jackets by older students in the program, Ashley Watrous, a four-year biomedical sciences student, junior member sergeant and head junior member of Newark Emergency Medical Services, shared her love of, insights about and some anecdotes about her experiences with the program.
“If you are planning on going into the medical field, you will use what you are learning here,’’ she said.
NHS biomedical sciences teacher Shawn Flanagan, a state-certified paramedic and the school’s Health Occupations Students of America chapter adviser, spoke about his unique career, the inception of the PLTW-Biomedical Sciences program at NHS four years ago and how he is looking for it to keep on growing.
One of only two PLTW-Biomedical Sciences programs in Wayne County school districts, Flanagan said it gives students considering a career in the medical field distinct advantages, such as exposure to a wide array of experiences that help them discover, before college, if it is really a good fit for them.
“It’s better to find out now if you don’t like dealing with sick people,’’ he told student program participants in the audience that packed into the large group instruction room.
He said the program is bolstered by support it receives from the Newark Central School District administration and board of education, Principal Tom Roote and his administrative team and the community partnership team.
“We’re not done,’’ he said. “We’re gonna make this program even cooler.”
Echoing Flanagan’s enthusiasm, Superintendent Matt Cook shared how excitement over the program is seen in the laughter and smiles of students who choose to participate in the rigorous program. He said that embodies the school district’s mission this year and beyond to bring joy into every facet of education.
“We think this program is phenomenal,’’ Cook said.
Richard Martin officiated at the event, and is co-chairman with his wife, Jerri, of the Community Partnership team. They assisted in presenting the lab coats to students.
New students this year are freshmen Blake Aldrich, Madeleine Brownell, Arianna Conant, Tyler Craig, Jared Dennis, Jade Eldridge, Isabelle Figueroa, Hunter Horvat, Meghan Johnson, Samantha Johnson, Jordan Marvin, Riley Rice, Joseph Shaw, Kristy Sulkowski, Julius Teabout, Annie Ventura, Jackson Vermeulen, Cameron Watson, Ciera Watson and Kyle Wood; sophomore Olivia Daniels; junior Olyvia Kiley; and seniors Jazmine Johnson and Shauntel Luther.
Second-year students are Amanda Colombo, Evelyn LoTempio, Jared Panek, Juliana Smith and Mackenzie Westcott.
Third-year students are Noah Arnold, Kailyn Crawford, Adian Elliott, Koebi Gorske, Jaiden Hernandez, Alexis Horn, Elizabeth Lang, Jallen Lundy, Phillip Ross and Dylan Wong.
Fourth-year students are Landon Berrios, Gregory Bremer, Alejandro Caraballo, Sydney Salone, Ashley Watrous and Marcus Zambito.
After the program, guests enjoyed refreshments provided by the PLTW-BMS Community Partnership Committee.