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End of Beginning celebration held for Newark seniors

Newark High School’s outstanding Project Lead The Way – BioMedical Sciences Program celebrated another significant milestone at the third annual “End of the Beginning Celebration” for nine graduating seniors.

They are: Noah Arnold, Kailyn Crawford, Amanda Colombo, Adian Elliott, Koebi Gorske, Jaiden Hernandez, Alexis Horn, Elizabeth Lang and Phillip Ross.

Each received a distinctive medal for completing the core course requirements of the rigorous program which the students will wear at commencement June 21st.

The six-year-old NHS PLTW-BioMedical Services Program is a college and career readiness program that provides a transformative learning experience for students, introducing them to medicine and human body systems, preparing them potentially for careers in medical and health-related fields. NHS is one of very few schools in the Finger Lakes region to offer the program.

The program is overseen by a Community Partnership Team made up of area BioMedical professionals, parents, educators, and students.

It’s Chair, Dr. Richard Martin welcomed parents, seniors and other PLTW-BioMedical Service Program student participants at NHS and others to the evening event held in the Large Group Instruction room.

He congratulated the seniors for how hard they’ve worked in the “challenging program” as did NHS Principal Tom Roote.

“I want to share how proud I am of not just your achievements in the PLTW program, but your achievements at NHS,” Roote said. “When looking back on your time in the program I hope you are nearing the point where things that were frustratingly difficult and inconvenient, in hindsight, seem like a challenge taken and defeated.

“For years, you have been under the watchful eye of a dedicated team of teachers, counselors, classmates, peers and most important, partners. When I think of your partners, the Newark High School PLTW Community Partnership Team comes to mind. This group of collaborative stakeholders provides leadership and action to support and enhance your learning experiences. Our PLTW Partnership Team plays a vital role in the sustainability and efficacy of the Biomedical Sciences program. Finally, our PLTW Community Partnership Team, unlike others, is building our program into an exemplary, sustained program with influence that reaches beyond the bounds of our school. Case in point was the addition of a second PLTW teacher in Mr. Breithaupt!

“When I think about our Community Partnership team, I sense that they are the conscience of our PLTW Biomedical Sciences program. An appropriate analogy would be an energy field created by all living things that surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together. Yes, I took that from Obi-Wan Kenobi.

“Your entire support team has noticed how you have separated yourself from the pack. Accompanying you today are some key attributes. You have developed in-demand skills to pursue rewarding careers, you can solve important challenges, and you have the mindset required to contribute to global progress.

“Your skills will be critical as we tackle some extremely complex issues. For example, think back to the year 2000 when we announced the measles endemic had been eliminated from the US. Now consider this information from an article published in an area newspaper in February,

“The worst local outbreak of measles in decades, which likely will total at least seven cases, began when a toddler contracted the virus and began a chain of contagion among other unvaccinated children.”

“While humility would suggest that you may be at least one college degree from solving the measles issue. At the very least, I would argue that your biomedical experiences at NHS have prepared you to objectively articulate a few points and counterpoints regarding vaccinations. Whether it is understanding vaccinations or simply navigating the complexities of dealing black market Titan DNA as mentioned in the movie “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” you are on your way. I only ask you to use the tools you have gathered under Mr. Flanagan’s watchful eye. Please use the knowledge you have gained here to make your partners proud. Thank you and congratulations.”

Wayne County Administrator Rick House was the keynote speaker for the event.

He first noted how he was “blown away” by the nine students’ presentations set up in the back of the room.

Another component of the culminating event June 3rd was the unveiling of seniors’ poster display boards that highlighted key points and memorable experiences from their journey in the program to this year and a glimpse into their futures.

House commended the students for participating in such a rigorous program in high school that is important, especially when applying to medical school. He said his daughter, Ali, a 2017 NHS graduate who, in 2015, as a junior, won the New York State Girls Diving Championship and who is now a junior at Ohio State University in the Bio Pre-Med Program, wants to become a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. As part of the application process for medical school, she needs to shadow some physicians and gets some hands-on experience. So this summer she is going to be shadowing at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and also at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

“Because she was so busy with her diving all over the country when she was in high school, she wasn’t able to participate in the BioMedical Sciences Program here where she would have gotten a lot of valuable teaching and experience that she needs,” House said.

He also noted that in his capacity as County Administrator he always hears from department heads that they are looking for quality candidates for jobs when they become available who are adept at critical thinking, can work as part of a team and can solve problems.

House said the graduating students being recognized at the event developed these skill sets as part of their participation in the PLTW-BioMedical Sciences Program. He also noted both employers and colleges are looking for students that are “well-rounded and well-grounded,” that have a good knowledge base and both of their feet on the ground.”

House suggested to students an “A.R.C.” strategy for success he has employed since he began in law enforcement 38 years ago: Action, Reflection and Community.

Action: He told students to be doers and work hard. Doing so, he said, will give them an edge in this highly competitive marketplace and world.

Reflection: At end of each day, he suggested students spend 10 minutes reflecting on their day both the good and not so good and how they could do better in both instances.

Community: He encouraged students to do things for others because life isn’t “all about me.” House said they should strive to help other people in various ways through community groups, churches and elsewhere. “It’s all about stewardship,’’ he said.

For his part, Shawn Flanagan, lead NHS BioMedical Sciences teacher who is a state-certified paramedic and Director of Junior Membership for the Newark Emergency Medical Services, graciously expressed thanks to all the students involved in the program.

Flanagan noted, as he has in the past, that from a highly practical standpoint, the advantages of participation in the program provides students including helping them determine BEFORE college whether they want to pursue a career in the medical field.

Pointing to Robert Frost’s famed 1920 poem “The Road Not Taken” printed on the back of the program, he congratulated the students for choosing “the less travelled road.”

“I think you would agree it has made all the difference and I promise you won’t regret it,’’ he said.
After Flanagan spoke, 2018 NHS and BioMedical Sciences Program graduate Gregory Bremer, a computer and information sciences major at Niagara University congratulated the seniors. He said his participation in the program has given him “tons of advantages” and proven invaluable because he learned things in high school that other students are now learning in college and he is even able to assist some of friends in college with their homework.

At the end of the event, Martin credited NHS BioMedical Sciences teacher Shawn Flanagan for the extraordinary success of the program and asked everyone to join him in thanking him with applause.

A brief reception, featuring refreshments donated by Wegmans followed.