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Students earn EMT-B certification through technical program at MHS

Holding their new EMT-B patches, MHS students from Emergency Medical Technician Basic Skills classes take time out for a photo shoot with their instructor and the superintendent. All earned their state certification through taking the CTE course at the high school. Front from left are: Caitlyn Sibley, Chelsea Stultz, Winterann Lemon and George Bagby; back row, instructor Capt. Peter Brown, NREMT-P, and school superintendent Rusty Fairheart.

by Beth Knight Brown
Director of CTE
and Gifted Education
Middlesex Public Schools

Part I in a series on career and technical classes offered at Middlesex High School.

When Capt. Peter Brown, NREMT-P, retired from James City County after 27 years of emergency response and firefighting, he never dreamed that he would be teaching EMT-B Emergency Medical Technician Basic Skills in area high schools. But that is exactly what he is doing and with success.

With the cooperation of the Peninsula EMS Council, and the Department of Health, he has taught EMT Basic to juniors and seniors the last two years. Each year, his students take over 140 classroom hours of training, earn CPR certifications, do clinical rotations at Gloucester’s Riverside Walter Reed Emergency Room, and some even ride along with area rescue squads and fire departments. Many are earning their Emergency Medical Technician Basic (EMT-B) state certification.

Caitlyn Sibley, daughter of Curtis and Carla Sibley of Hartfield, was a junior in the class last year. She recently passed the EMT examination over the summer. Caitlyn has an active interest in first aid skills serving as a trainer for the basketball team. She also uses her skills regularly, volunteering under Wayne Evans, captain of the Middlesex County Rescue Squad of Deltaville. Evans along with Wayne Hargis, another veteran member of the squad, take turns precepting, or mentoring her on “ride alongs” every Thursday.

Why does Caitlyn do this? “To help this county out,” she said. “I like to take care of people.”

When asked about the rigor of the class at MHS, she replied, “Sure it is hard. It is up there compared with the other classes. But it is worth the effort.”

As a senior this year, Caitlyn will be “standing by” with the rescue squad at football and basketball games.

George Bagby, son of Shirley and George Bagby Sr.  of Saluda, a 2007 MHS graduate, retested for his EMT-B certification while working full time as a lifeguard at the Great Wolf Lodge this summer. After high school, George joined his mother, who is also an EMT, on the Central Middlesex Volunteer Rescue Squad of Urbanna, volunteering under the direction of Capt. Cindy Callis. “We desperately need more trained members to continue to staff the squad,” said Callis, noting they are having a tough time responding.

Nick Greenwood also took Brown’s class in 2007 to become a firefighter as a senior. He received his EMT certification while taking course work at RCC after graduation. Nick volunteers on the squad in Urbanna and is hoping to become a firefighter EMT with York County one day.

Not everyone who earns their EMT-B certification becomes an EMT on a rescue squad. Some students take the EMT course at MHS because they know the skills they learn will be helpful to them elsewhere. Samantha Charnock, who is going to Radford University this year, can use the knowledge in her pursuit of a nursing degree.

Winterann Lemon of Deltaville, a 2007 graduate who has been working locally at West Marine, plans on using her knowledge of life saving by working in the field of forensic science some day. Lemon wants to possibly pursue a forensic science major at Thomas Nelson Community College and even an added EMT Intermediate certification.

Chelsea Stultz, daughter of Kelly Mullikan of Saluda, is another new EMT who can use her knowledge to help become an occupational therapist when she graduates from high school this year. Stultz will be taking a leadership role as a senior this year taking Part 2 of the EMT class. This will enable her to have an active leadership role, designing scenarios and other practical exercises for the new EMT students. She will also receive more advanced life saving training, too.

Students who are awaiting notification from the state regarding the results of their testing are Whit Walden and David Belcher, both 2008 graduates. Whit has a firefighting job pending his certification and David wants to put his skills to use in the Coast Guard soon.

Other MHS students who will be re-testing for state certification this fall include Sergey Fomin, Brynn Callis, Jake Fletcher and Brittani Tabor. Some have signed on for more training and are taking the second part of the EMT completer course.

The EMT-B class at Middlesex High School is just one of 10 programs offered under the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program. These programs address the academic competencies and technical skills required to be successful in tomorrow’s workforce.

Part 2: “Technology Ticks at MHS,” a look at the technology program and its new directions.

posted 08.29.2008

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