PHOTOS: Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences
Students find their professional calling at the Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences
One of Gaston County Schools’ choice programs will graduate its inaugural senior class this school year. Senior Savion Leacock says he is really happy that he chose to attend the Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences. It’s a decision that put him on a great path toward a career in healthcare.
Leacock, who applied for admission after his freshman year at another high school, has a desire to work in the healthcare field. His inspiration stemmed from his grandmother’s battle with multiple sclerosis, which left her bedridden for most of his youth.
“It ignited something within me,” explained Leacock, who is currently enrolled in the biotechnology pathway with aspirations to contribute to the field of prosthetics. “I often wondered what it would be like if my grandmother could walk again.”
Leacock added, “I collaborated with the Army Education Outreach Program (AEOP) at UNC-Charlotte, and through this internship, I want to create cost-effective, solar-powered prosthetic devices. Currently, these devices are more expensive, and many lower-income households cannot afford them. My goal is to make them more affordable and efficient.”
For senior Amelia Matzke, her initial spark of interest in the healthcare field was ignited by the television drama, “Grey’s Anatomy.” However, it was the opportunity to job-shadow through the Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences that solidified her conviction that this is the career path she wants to pursue.
“At one point, I aspired to be a surgeon, but then I realized that the prospect of life and death frightened me. So, I began to explore other medical avenues such as the development of devices used in surgeries,” Matzke shared.
Matzke highlighted the importance of being a part of the CaroMont Health Career Club, which enables students to shadow professionals in the field. As a group, they get to present their findings and gain insights into the journey that professionals took to reach their current roles and what a typical day in the medical field involves.
Chandandeep Chahil shared that her interest in biology has always been a driving force, but it was her own experience of being in a coma with pneumonia as a young girl for a couple of months that propelled her to start asking profound questions about the healthcare field.
In contrast to Leacock and Matzke, Chahil’s aspiration is to become a surgeon. She recounted her eye-opening experience: “Through the CaroMont Health job-shadowing program, I had the privilege of witnessing surgeries, and it became abundantly clear to me that this is my true calling.”
Chahil also emphasized how her attendance at the Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences has equipped her with invaluable skills in time management and the ability to balance her commitments to family and social life, which she views as vital preparations for her future.
The Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences opened in August 2021 with ninth-grade and tenth-grade students, thanks to a collaborative effort between Gaston County Schools, Gaston College, Belmont Abbey College, and CaroMont Health. The sophomores are now seniors, and they will be the school’s first graduating class in May 2024.
Located on the Gaston College campus in Dallas, the school is tailored for students with an interest in the medical field. Students have the unique opportunity to earn both a high school diploma and an associate degree from Gaston College. They can choose among three distinct pathways: biotechnology, health and human services, and nursing. Beyond traditional high school and college-level coursework, students engage in enriching job-shadowing experiences and gain hands-on knowledge through CaroMont Health.
Admission to the Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences is determined through an application and lottery process. Applications are accepted in the spring. Click here for more information.