WHS health care sciences ceremony held

With 10 students earning Certified Nursing Assistant and 18 receiving Pharmacy Tech certification, the 2018 Health Care Science class was the largest in Wheatmore High School history. From left, Josh Simpson, Emily Burkhart, Paige Shores and Jake Sechrest are pictured at a reception celebration which took place afterward.

TRINITY — Josh Simpson is one step closer to his career, thanks to a career-technical education program at Wheatmore High School.

He was one of 10 students who received Certified Nursing Assistant pins at a ceremony held recently in the Wheatmore High School auditorium.

For Simpson, going into the nursing field was a natural choice.

“Both my parents are nurses so I’ve always been around it,” said Simpson, who plans to go to UNC-Charlotte to pursue a nursing or nurse anesthetist degree. “It’s a great opportunity.”

Wheatmore High School students have the option to pursue Health Care Science classes that include BioMed Technology, Health Science and Pharmacy Technician classes. Now in its eighth year, 28 WHS students altogether gained either Certified Nursing Assistant or Pharmacy Technician certifications. For the ones who walked across the auditorium stage, the effort was worth it.

”I’ve always wanted to do something in the medical field, and it seemed like an interesting class, ” said Nayab Malik, who was in high spirits after she received her pharmacy tech certification.

According to Malik, all her hard work has been worth it. In the fall, she will attend UNC-Greensboro to pursue more education in a medical field.

After completing Pharmacy Technician studies, Chase McKinney has high hopes for the CTE exam he will take this week and for state board exam testing soon afterwards.

“I’ve always wanted to help people,” he said. “I love learning about the body and how it works. If you can help people that way you can do something.”

“There is lots of interest in it and hopefully it will continue to grow,” said Health Care Science teacher Virginia Washburn. “It’s another avenue for the kids to do something right out of school. If they are going into health care fields they have to have pharmacology so it’s going to help them in whichever healthcare career they choose.”

“Class of 2018, you should be extremely proud of yourself,” said Wheatmore High School Career Development Coordinator Kyle Spencer. “This is symbolic of your first step into the medical field. We salute your dedication, hard work and passion. We are so proud and honored to have had the privilege of teaching you.”

Randolph County Schools Director of Career and Technical Education Director Nancy Cross praised the dedication of students and staff, as well as the system, which allows graduates a leg up on their future careers.

"Nursing Fundamentals and Pharmacy Tech are both courses in health science leading to industry-recognized credentials,” she said. “Students who earn these credentials are in a great position to enter careers in health care or continue their education. I'm proud of teachers Kim Barkley and Virginia Washburn for their dedication to preparing these young people for their next steps."

Kacy Hill felt fortunate when she was selected for the CNA program and even more so when it enabled her to obtain her certification while still in high school.

“It was kind of stressful but I know in the end it all worked out and it’s worth it,” she said. “I plan on taking a semester to work as a CNA and save up for my nursing degree. The program here at Wheatmore allows you to get a head start.”

Staff writer Debbie Hightower may be reached at dhightower@atnonline.net or 336-888-3576.