HOBART | Portage High School senior Jaquel Freeny enrolled in the new Emergency Medical Technology Academy because she wants to become a doctor. Other students enrolled in the courses held at the new Hobart High School have aspirations to become nurses, firefighters or paramedics.
"This will allow me to have one foot in the door," Freeny said of her future plans to become an anesthesiologist.
No matter their ultimate career path, all high school students who complete the course will have a leg up when it comes to filling jobs that are in demand, according to Hobart EMS Director and class instructor Bob Lamprecht.
"This class will benefit each one who takes it," said Lamprecht, who added this is one of the few programs in the state offering EMT classes to high school students.
The students, including those from both Porter County and Hobart high schools, were put through their EMT paces on a recent weekday. Some took part in practical skills like CPR, while others took part in diagnosing a scenario involving a diabetic patient.
Brandon Braselton, a Hobart High School senior who plans to attend Ball State University and become a nurse, said he likes the classes because of the hands-on practices.
"I like helping people," he said.
Braselton was one of the students taking part in a simulated ambulance call involving a 28-year-old diabetic, another student, whom he was told was groggy and couldn't communicate.
Purposely put on the spot by Hobart EMTs Craig Barton and Rod Mosqueda, nervous students -- including Braselton -- were encouraged to ask a series of questions leading up to a patient assessment.
"Keep asking questions. Don't give up," Mosqueda said.
The scenarios will be similar to qualifying tests students must pass to receive EMT certification, he said.
Hosting the academy at Hobart High School was a collaborative idea developed between Hobart School Superintendent Peggy Buffington and himself, Lamprecht said.
The program is available to students at all schools in the Porter County Career and Technical Education program as well as Hobart High School, said program director Jon Groth.
Lamprecht said statistics gathered by his department indicate there's a shortage of EMTs in Northwest Indiana and throughout the state.
"The ultimate success story would be for the students to come and serve on our Fire Department or another area department," he said. 'These students will be the ones taking care of us in the future."
The program will encourage further training in college through a partnership with Methodist Hospitals, Ivy Tech and Purdue University, Lamprecht said. Students will be able to receive up to 7.5 college credits towards an associate degree in paramedic science, he said