By GABRIELLA CRUZ-MARTÍNEZ
Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., honored 20 of its Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Biomedical Sciences students last week by celebrating a White Coat Ceremony for the PLTW Class of 2019.
During the ceremony, the young scholars were presented with white lab coats embroidered with their names and future professions marking the completion of the rigorous three-year Project. Just as medical schools have similar ceremonies, marking first-year medical students’ entry into the profession; the white coats are used to encourage students to continue down their medical career path as they grow.
The high school introduced its partnership with the state-wide Biomedical Program in 2013-2014 through the initiative of Dr. Gregory Jones, the school principal. The program, led by Kenwood teacher Kristian Coerper aims to develop candidate’s excellence in the biological sciences, to inspire a love for learning and the skills and knowledge to pursue careers in the biomedical sciences.
The event, hosted in the school’s Little Theatre was packed with cheers from proud family and friends as students participating in all years of the program were recognized for their achievements.
Students start the program as 8th or 9th graders and spend three years taking courses like Principals of Biomedical Sciences, Human Body Systems, and finally, Medical Intervention -a biotechnology course where students learn various forms of biotechnology as well as interventions for patients who are struggling with various ailments like cancer. The fourth year course is AP Biology.
“We’ve experienced a lot of fun stuff throughout the years,” said Megan Lee, a student of the program who gave the introductory speech. Lee mentioned a number of unique activities they participated in from a field trip to Athletico, where students were able to engage with physical therapists at work, to having guest speakers from the University of Chicago share insights to their studies, and finally a trip where they were able to participate in the autopsy of a cadaver.
After presenting students with their coats, Kye-Anne Wilborn, a Kenwood alum and the Chicago Public Schools District Administrator for Project Lead the Way gifted the class a clay human body figure and a manual valued at around $600 for students to learn about human anatomy by building the human body from scratch.
Wilborn also reminded students to always persevere as they were “the next generation of scholars that would change the world.”
Included below are the students who earned their white coats, with their desired professions:
Timotheus Arrington, Future Orthopedic Surgeon
Imani Austin, Future Neonatal Nurse
Alexis Burress, Future Psychiatrist
Tayah Dixon, Future Physical Therapist
Rudi Frazier, Future Obstetrician
Monika Grant, Future Pediatrician
Iyana Gross, Future Pediatric Surgeon
Teri Hill, Future Anesthesiologist
Mykah Howze, Future Cosmetic Surgeon
Aaliyah Johnson, Future Psychologist
Megan Lee, Future Pediatric Surgeon
Jazmine Mason, Future Pediatrician
Laila May, Future Orthopedic Surgeon
Thaila Myers-Cohen, Future Endless
Tayla Nixon, Future Psychiatrist
Nia Priest, Future Neurosurgeon
Anaya Scott, Future Neurosurgeon
Destini Simon, Future Researcher
Summer Smith-McDaniels, Future Obstetrician/Gynecologist
Nyla Wells, Future Cardiothoracic Surgeon