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Medical Academy Camp exposes students to health care careers

Students from all three Delano high schools came together for a first-ever medical camp for high school students.

The California Endowment and The Kern Community College District collaborated with Delano Joint Unified School District to launch the first-of-its-kind Delano Medical Academy Camp June 26 through June 29 for a group of incoming district ninth-grade students. All the students were selected because of their involvement or interest in the medical field.

The objectives of the camp are to provide participating students exposure and increase awareness to careers in the health care field, to build college and career readiness, and to facilitate transitioning from junior high to high school.

The Delano Medical Academy Camp, hosted at Robert F. Kennedy High School, was made possible through support from, and collaboration with, the following organizations: The California Endowment and Kern Community College District, Workforce Development Division of the California Community Colleges.

These organizations have partnered together with the district to develop the Delano Medical Academy Camp that provided students the opportunities to begin learning about, and planning for, a career in the medical profession.

The class was taught by Chuk Tam from Kennedy High School. Additionally, eight Delano and RFK High School Health Careers Academy students participated as mentors for the younger students.

Weeklong activities included:

Tuesday — Students were introduced to their academy mentors, where they worked collectively exploring different occupations within the health care field.

Wednesday, 9 to 11 a.m. — Toured the main Bakersfield Family Medical Center, job shadowing.

Thursday — Medical careers speaker series presentations that involved both working professionals and existing students seeking a career in the field of health care.

Friday — Students presented a multimedia report detailing an area of personal interest in the medical profession at RFK high School.

Student mentor Eliah Choppa, 17, a Delano High School senior, answered why he wanted to mentor younger students: “I’ve been in the Delano Health Academy since my sophomore year, and (my teacher) Mr. Kennedy always thought I had great leadership skills. And I thought since the teacher believed in me, maybe I should try it out.

“Maybe I could teach some of the incoming freshmen some things they don’t know because they’re not too sure yet. I just thought that maybe I could positively influence someone’s future.”

Incoming freshman attendee, Angela Carranza, 14, will be attending Robert F. Kennedy High School. She already plans to attend college and pursue a future medical career.

“That’s what made me interested in attending this week’s camp,” Angela said. “And being interested in doing something in the medical field.”

Kennedy High teacher Chuk Tam said, “This camp will help students come school time.”

The camp is here to expose incoming freshmen.

“In the fall, the students can choose to participate in dual-enrollment classes that can get them on the correct pathway,” Tam said.

“One program the kids can enter is the medical-assisting program,” he said. “That will help the kids in becoming medical assistants. And in theory, if the students can pass the state exam, they can be working the day after graduation.”

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