A Look Inside the Health Academy

Health Academy at Centennial Grooms Future Medical Professionals

October 9, 2015

The Health Academy hallway…myth to some, uncharted territory to many. What happens in the Health Academy Hallway you may ask? Well, The Centennialight caught up with the Dean of the program, Mr. Bill McAuliffe, and some Health Academy students, to learn more about it.

Health Academy is a program that is designed to help prepare students who want to have a profession related to the medical field. There are many things that students can become involved in with the Health Academy, such as student government, volunteer work, and the HOSA chapter (involved in disasters). Students can specialize in becoming phlebotomy technicians, emergency medical technicians, pharmacy technicians, along with the general concurrent enrollment.

This journey ideally begins early in one’s high school career. This year, about 100 freshman applied from East, South, Central, and Centennial.  Only 60 students were accepted for a position in the Health Academy. The application requires 3 letters of recommendation, at least a 2.5 GPA, and a driven attitude. The academy looks for students prepared to work beyond the general curriculum, and rightfully so.

On the Health Academy schedule, students remain with the same students for four years, thereby creating a sort of “family.” The students will learn to work and grow together in a productive environment geared towards their future, later graduating hand in hand, as a unit.

One benefit of the Health Academy is a specialized course curriculum. For instance, one of the program’s biology teachers, Mr. Benedetto, says that “besides the rigor, it’s that the curriculum is geared for health profession or health career. So it’s a little bit different than the bio that maybe Centennial is teaching, because we are trying to prepare them for a career in nursing, to be a doctor.” This fact is what makes Health Academy different from  the general education of public schooling. All subjects are in some form, linked to medical practices.

The Health Academy is not something that is part of every school. Centennial has been the only school to have a program like this. Another school, South, is following Centennial and now has the beginning of a Health Academy of their own. Freshmen that attend South that want to go into the Health Academy will attend at South, however, students in their sophomore year or higher, and have previously attended Centennials Health Academy, will stay in the program at Centennial until they graduate.

One of the coolest things about the Health Academy is that for a student who wants to go into a health profession, such as working in a hospital, they will able to experience some of what would actually happen within a hospital.  Students get to go to the hospitals and experience first hand what goes on.  Health Academy student, Madi Yorke, describes part of what Health Academy students get to experience upon their visits to the hospitals, saying that “usually the head of a department comes and explains what happens…one that I can think of off the top of my head was the sleep lab, we went up to the sleep floor and they showed us rooms that looked like an actual bedroom: something cozy so you don’t feel like you’re in a hospital and then they watch you sleep and they hear you.” Kids learn things that might actually apply to their future.

Though the Health Academy is geared towards a student looking into a health related career it would be beneficial for any student willing to have a rigorous curriculum. Whether you want to be a nurse or doctor, or want to study to be a phlebotomy technician or to work as an EMT, Health Academy will be a step in that direction.

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