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Healthcare students get early start on success


Students in the Health Sciences Academy get an early start on professional success

Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing career fields, and students enrolled in the Health Sciences Academy at East Gaston High School know the program can give them an early start on professional success.

The health-related industry is growing in Gaston County and beyond.  Through the Health Sciences Academy, which is a partnership with CaroMont Health and Gaston College, students have the opportunity to explore six foundational pathways: healthcare, pharmacy technology, health and fitness science, nursing, medical assisting, and animal medicine.

“Our partnership with CaroMont Health and Gaston College opens the door for our students to take the first steps toward providing quality healthcare here in Gaston County,” said principal Jennifer Reep. “When people think of healthcare, they immediately think of doctors and nurses.  However, the field involves so many other professionals like people who work at a veterinary office, wellness facility, physician’s office, health department, retail pharmacy, urgent care center, and home health agency.  We are offering a foundation for students to learn about a variety of areas in healthcare.”  

According to Academy coordinator Nikki Akins, the connections to CaroMont Health and Gaston College “bring a wealth of additional experiences and education opportunities that will set our students apart when continuing on to higher education and into their careers.” 

In addition to high school coursework, students take Gaston College classes that provide hands-on learning.  One innovative learning opportunity includes the school’s use of an Anatomage Table, which gives students access to 3D anatomy visualization and virtual dissection right at their fingertips.  Teachers are still getting used to the technology, but it has been useful during lessons. 

“We are very grateful to have the Anatomage Table because it enhances what our students are able to learn,” said teacher Amy McAulay.  “For example, there are four cadavers on the Anatomage Table, and the amount of information is unlimited.”

The available technology is one of the reasons why Daniel Burns decided to enroll into the Health Sciences Academy in 2019.

“I chose to come to East Gaston High School because I thought it would better prepare me for college and a career in the medical field,” said Burns, who is on track to earn a Health and Fitness Science associate degree from Gaston College.  “The classes prepare you and offer great hands-on opportunities.  Plus, the teachers are great and go out of their way to help you succeed.”

Freshman Aaron Mobley enrolled in the Health Sciences Academy after hearing about the great things his mother does as a nurse. 

“My mom is a nurse, and I wanted to learn more about the healthcare industry,” said Mobley, who enrolled in the Pharmacy Technician pathway.  “As a freshman, one of the classes you take is Biomedical Sciences where I learned about the human body, DNA, and types of diseases.”

Sophomore Jonathan Green is one of a handful of students who took the path from Hawks Nest STEAM Academy to the STEAM Academy at Stanley Middle School and then to the Health Sciences Academy at East Gaston High School.

“The learning I received at Hawks Nest and Stanley Middle prepared me for high school,” said Green. “I am excited to take advantage of the skills and opportunities offered basically for free through job shadowing and hands-on learning.”

LaTarsha Beam, who has a daughter in the program, could not agree more. 

“The Health Sciences Academy has set the groundbreaking path for my daughter to have a successful career in the medical field,” said Beam, who is a senior practice administrator with CaroMont Health.  “I’m thankful Marya is a part of this innovative Academy that not only continues her high school education, but also partners with Gaston College to pursue further education.”