New health science academy brings career opportunities to Bearden


Cassidy Bailey

Students get hands-on experience in Bearden’s new health sciences academy.

Katie Matthews, Editor-in-chief

Freshman year is an interesting time for many students as they figure out how to transition from middle to high school and start to think about what they want to do after they graduate.

Getting involved in Bearden’s health science program made that transition so much smoother for now-senior Avery McKinney because she has a clear goal for her plans after graduation.

Many other students will have the same career realization as McKinney did – but in a brand new way. With the new Health Science Academy, Bearden students have an opportunity to start a career path with classes and hands-on experience that prepares them for college and the real world.

After completing and scoring well enough in the health science class, students choose one of three career tracks including the certified nursing assistant (CNA), Emergency Medical Responder (EMR), and Pharmacy Technician. After completing each track, the student would be prepared to take a certification exam and get a license to be able to use their skills in the real world right out of high school.

“It’s more of a comprehensive approach to health science as a whole, so in other words, instead of just having an academic focus, we can really start concentrating on things to get people ready for not just college but for careers as well,” CNA teacher Mrs. Kelly-Ann Buckley said.

While this sounds like a major change for the program, the same classes are still in place. Classes are being added to be able to accommodate the new career paths including nursing education, exercise science, cardiovascular services, and pharmacology.

Another addition to the program is a skills lab where students can use what they learn from the classroom and apply it to real-world situations.

“The health science academy is giving people new opportunities,” senior Sarah Hall said. “You get to put what you’re learning in the classroom into practice which is really cool because you normally don’t get to do that until college.”

The main focus of the academy is to prepare students for the medical field and give them an advantage in college that they can use to pay for expenses while in school or as a viable career option.

Students can use the program to explore careers and figure out their passion in life while becoming integrated in a program that feels like a family.

“I think more people will be interested in it because it’ll have more of a presence at Bearden, so people thinking about going into the medical field can join this CTE program that’s like a family and get to have support from all the teachers,” Hall said.

Added McKinney: “Seeing the skills lab and being able to help out around here is a good preparation for college, and the health science class in general is the whole reason I went into the medical field, and it really helped me realize my passion, so I think any student who even tries these classes will really enjoy it and be able to see what they’re meant to do.”