High school students receive a helping hand


By Les Jones:

High school students seeking a career in health sciences are getting a firsthand look at the field with the help of Amarillo College’s Helping Heroes mentors.

Twenty-one Palo Duro High students are currently taking part in the program at the West Campus and the numbers are expected to grow. “I think it is still new and we are still developing the program to see what impact it can have,” said Phyllis Pastwa, an AC nursing instructor.

The program pairs the high school seniors with healthcare professionals.

It gives students the opportunity to job shadow at local hospitals so they have a better idea of what their chosen career will be like.

Mentors guide students around and help them prepare for college. “The goal is to increase college readiness,” Pastwa said.

The program has already had success by helping a student get a job at an Amarillo hospital through the contacts and mentors they had.

The mentors said they are glad to help the students. “I’ve been touched over the past two years by the young ladies who will be part of my life forever,” said Michele Gorday, a mentor and AC graduate.

Gorday said she wants to show students that they can go to college and achieve their dreams. She said it feels good to help the next generation of health sciences professionals.

The mentors must commit to a full school year of contact with the students and make time to see them every month. The mentors said they are glad to be part of the program.

“The feeling I get when I inspire a student is fulfillment and pride. Nothing makes me prouder than seeing those I help succeed in what they set out to accomplish,” said Michelle Adkins, a registered nurse at BSA and mentor.

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