In February 2012, the U.S. Department of Education‘s Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, Dr. Brend Dann-Messier, visited Hillwood High School. The purpose of Dr. Dann-Messier’s visit was to learn about the Academies of Nashville program and how the academy model has been implemented across MNPS and at Hillwood in particular. Students at Hillwood wrote letters to Dr. Dann-Messier to describe how their academies have changed their outlook on education and prepared them for college and career. The letter that follows was written by Christiana C., a senior in the Academy of Health Sciences. She writes about how her academy has given her nurse training in a hands-on learning environment.
I am Christiana from Hillwood High School, and I aspire to become a nurse. I come from a very loving and caring family, but my family lacks the ability to provide financial needs. If it weren’t for my Health Science classes, I never would have been given the opportunity to try and achieve my Certified Nursing Assistant Certification. I am in clinical now through the Nursing Education class and will have the appropriate number of clinical hours to sit for my test at the end of the school year, which is my senior year in high school. Through these classes in nurse training I have obtained numerous skills that I will be able to utilize in the field of nursing.
If you were to compare the person I was before high school to the person I am now, I have a much better likelihood of going to college and becoming a nurse. Academy of Health Sciences gave me hope of achieving my goals and kept me focused on my future. Nursing is an extremely competitive field, and being in this academy has put me a step ahead of everyone else. I’ve taken Medical Terminology, Emergency Medical Services, Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment, and tons of other classes that I feel have prepared me to be a successful nurse. I’ve been given numerous opportunities to do things that I’d never have done without this academy. I have participated in job shadowing, paid and unpaid internships, and actual patient care.
I have been accepted to Lipscomb University, where I plan to pursue nursing. I feel the nursing classes will be less challenging for me with the many experiences in nurse training I have received in high school. No matter where life leads me, I’ll never forget the things the Academy of Health Sciences and especially Ms. Myrick have done for me. Plenty of doors have been opened, and I even have the chance to further improve my nursing skills and become a Certified Nursing Assistant along with attending college. I have built relationships at the facilities where I have had the opportunity to intern and, if I am successful at passing my test to earn my CNA certificate, I could possibly get a job at one of those facilities. I go off campus for my Nursing Education and Clinical Internship classes. I intern at the Blakeford Nursing Home for nursing class and Centennial Medical Center for the internship class. I enjoy forming a relationship with possible future employers. This is all thanks to the Academy of Health Sciences.
Not everyone has the opportunities I’ve had; however, they should. I’m a much better person, and I feel I’ll be a much better nurse, thanks to the Academy of Health Sciences and the nurse training available to me. I know you learn something new every day, as a nurse. I also know that not every day is the same. I really enjoy the fact that we get to go to the Blakeford and perform hands-on patient care. If it wasn’t for the Academy of Health Sciences, and the facilities that work with us, I’d be an average student. I have much more confidence as a student and as a prospective nurse.