Several Burke County Public Schools Career and College Promise students participating in the Emergency Medical Technician program recently were able to be a part of history and help to administer COVID-19 vaccines to the community at Freedom High School.
The vaccine clinic is organized by Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge in Morganton.
George Mackay, Jayden Pedraza, Ryan Mooney, Justin Taylor and Garret Hensley are BCPS high school students participating in CCP classes at Western Piedmont Community College. This is a dual-enrollment program where students are able to take college classes while still in high school. In the EMT program, students learn about all basic first-aid procedures, advanced airways, spinal mobilization and more.
“Because of the vaccine clinics, I came over and spoke with the hospital personnel to see if they would entertain the notion for our students to come and assist with the vaccines, and they agreed,” said Terry Houston, director of the Occupational Extension at WPCC.
Houston said that under the supervision of their instructors, the students were able to collectively administer dozens of shots at the local vaccine clinic.
“It has been very enjoyable and I like it,” Mackay said. “It is actually our first taste of interacting with the public. I had the idea that I wanted to do something like this and once I realized I could do this in high school, it made it all greater to do it. It is fantastic and I think it will be useful for my future.”
Added Houston: “These guys have done tremendously well and are exceeding our expectations to be 17-year-old students. This is a 240-hour class, but they do another 200 hours online at home. All their clinicals will be on the weekend, so they are sacrificing a lot as a 17-year-old to progress through this class, but we are super proud to be involved in their future in the medical field.”