By Brandon HENSLEY
Usually at a high school, hours after the last bell has rung, the hallways are empty, free of students who are most likely procrastinating on another assignment.
But on May 20 at CV High, students had an assignment that brought them back to the classroom from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
On the second floor of the 2000 building, CV’s Academy of Science and Medicine hosted its third annual Health
Career Night, bringing out many students who, with the promise of extra credit from their science teachers, gained a lot of knowledge from the Academy and guest speakers. Sixteen guest speakers from various health professions, including dentists, paramedics and medical students from colleges, spoke to students inside several classrooms to inform of the many types of professions and educate them on what it takes to make it in whatever field of medicine they would join.
“Hopefully we’d be able to inspire someone to maybe look toward a path that they hadn’t thought of this year,” said senior Mary Goral, an Academy officer, who coordinates senior events and helps recruits students for the Academy, which is led by science teacher Orenda Tuason.
All night long, Academy members walked around directing speakers into their assigned classroom and helping to make sure the needed technology was working.
One of those speakers was Dr. Armond Kotikian, an oral surgeon and 1993 CV graduate. Kotikian spoke for students earlier this year, and Tuason asked for him to come back. He said he was happy to because he wanted to “encourage more people to go into the health field be it dentistry, nursing, medicine, pharmacy. Hopefully it will stimulate people to go as far as they can.”
Kotikian didn’t exactly know what he wanted to do when he was younger, and the same could be said of Dr. Kasper Wong, who is now a pediatric surgeon.
“I’ve been through this in my life, and there are all these different choices one can make, and truthfully, nobody really told me what to do. I had to figure it out on my own,” Wong said.
The common thread among the speakers was to let students know that in this stage in their life, there are many roads they can choose, and this night served to better help them in making that choice.
“Hopefully in the process of it they see that there’s more to life than high school. This is a wonderful time in one’s life but it’s just the start,” Wong said. Students in the Academy can also attest to that. Goral praised Tuason and Janie Antista, who works in the health office and makes sure students in the Academy have their 40 hours of internship and 20 hours of tutoring done by the time they complete the program.
“[Tuason and Antista are] really inspirational people and they make sure you’re on track to do what you want to do,” said Goral. “They’re not going to pressure you into doing something that you think won’t benefit you. They really do look toward your best interests.”
Of course, there are certain requirements for students to join the Academy, but Antista said students don’t have to have straight As. They look for all kinds of students, even the ones who were there just getting extra credit? Antista was hopeful.
“They leave [career night] and they actually have knowledge of what these different professionals do,” she said.
Sophomore Judith Landau, an Academy member who was whizzing through the halls coordinating the event, said the Academy had already been so helpful for her science goals.
“I like how we have so many opportunities to see medical and scientific aspects of [specific] careers,” she said. “We get to go on a lot of field trips like Caltech and research centers and we have these amazing classes that prepare you for careers in research.”
Imagine being a high school sophomore and doing research at a USC laboratory. Landau’s already done it, and her high school career is just halfway done.
Landau also recognized the extra credit students but said, “They’re still learning. I’m sure that some people here are becoming interested in medical and scientific careers just by listening.”