By Amber Georgenson, Current Staff
Local student Zoey Bruce never thought she’d be learning inside of a helicopter.
Beginning this school year, seniors at the West Bend High Schools and Kewaskum High School have the opportunity to earn high school and college credits as they work to become emergency medical technicians. This year-long program takes place at Moraine Park Technical College every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7-9 a.m. After completion of this course, students that are at least 18 years of age are able to take examinations to become certified as an EMT in the state of Wisconsin.
Ralph Schlass, Director of Community Relationships and Engagement for the West Bend School District, helped coordinate the program as a new class available to seniors.
“This technical diploma prepares students to assess and treat health-related emergencies, check a scene for hazards and care for injured patients,” Schlass said.
The classes themselves are a combination of classroom learning and hands-on experiences. Some of the major topics covered by the program are patient assessment, medical emergencies, trauma, airway management and EMS operations.
This year the West Bend High Schools only had two students sign up for the program.
“We still would like more students to be in these classes from both West Bend and Kewaskum but maybe once the word of mouth gets around and people hear about EMT, they will be interested in taking it,” Schlass said.
Zoey Bruce, a senior at West Bend East High School, has had a positive learning experience in the program this year.
“It has been a really fun and enjoyable experience,” Bruce said. “There are a lot of hands-on activities with an actual ambulance and some medical equipment as well.”
Eligible students must successfully complete two exams to qualify for a Wisconsin Emergency Medical Technical license. These exams are the State of Wisconsin Emergency Medical Technician practical examination and the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians written examination.
Paul DeLain is a West Bend West science teacher and a certified EMT and firefighter who thinks the EMT program is an excellent course option available to students.
“It’s one of those positions in a community that gives back that people don’t have the time for anymore,” DeLain said. “Every community is hungry for EMTs and firefighters and paramedics and the pool is getting smaller and smaller so if we get students hooked earlier, I think that’s a great idea.”
DeLain also describes the EMT class as being a great capstone program for students.
“It covers chemistry, it covers biology, it covers ethics, it covers history, it covers math,” DeLain said.
Most costs associated with taking the class are covered by the WBSD. In early 2023, students will be notified to register for classes for the 2023-2024 school year and current juniors will be able to sign up for the class. Interested students are required to have a cumulative 2.0-grade point average.
(Photos courtesy of Kewaskum High School.)