HHS academy students get hands-on opportunities

Published 8:00 pm Monday, April 30, 2018

The Health and Human Services academies at Warren Central and Vicksburg high schools are working to give students a better understanding of careers in their chosen fields before they ever graduate high school.

This year, students in the HHS academies have learned about genetics in dogs, organized a large scale recycling project, helped with their school’s blood drive and learned about how medicine has changed over time.

“When we started doing the projects, I wanted to become an environmental engineer so this is a whole new level for me to actually be hands on and say I was able to help start a project at my school that contributes into my career choice,” said Warren Central junior Adison Hearn, who helped organize the recycling project in her environmental science class.

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The HHS academy is geared toward students interested largely in medical careers, but also public safety careers such as police or firefighter, and at Warren Central, the ninth grade students brought HHS to life in their core classes through a project called The Wolves Among Us, where they learned all about dog genetics.

The project started in biology where the students learned about genetics. It then carried to history class, where they learned about dog breeds used in the world wars, and to algebra where they ran simulations and predicated the coat color of lab puppies based on the parents’ genes. The English class was also involved as the students peer-reviewed personal statements they wrote about the project and display boards they created about the results.

“From one class to the next you could definitely see buy in,” Warren Central biology teacher Steve Summers said. “It is always good to see kids excited. Students will tell you, from one class to the next it is easy to disengage. When you leave one class carrying something with you that you are going to complete in the next one, it is a lot easier to make those connections because you are getting buy in.”

At Vicksburg High, Deatra Robinson has incorporated the HHS program into her U.S. History class by focusing on how medicine and personal hygiene have improved throughout history.

“It helps them a lot because at the age they are at this point as juniors, they need to get themselves on a career path,” Robinson said. “They need to know at least what direction they would like to go. If they are in the health and human services and they are able to hear what medicine and technology do and how public health supports it, they can portray those things into their lives.”

Of the three academies, students in HHS also have the potential to see some of the biggest impact from taking dual-credit courses at Hinds Community College. Vicksburg Warren School District became the first district in Mississippi to offer Project Lead the Way’s biomedical III course this year and in those course students receive hands on experience in areas of the medical field and learn about career opportunities.

VWSD has also partnered with Hinds for the allied health program where high school seniors can enroll in nursing courses and finish high school with their Certified Nursing Assistant license for free and be only two semesters away from their Licensed Practical Nurse certification.