Students preview health and safety careers.
By Sean Aronson
Obstacle courses and relay races do not typically show up at career fairs, but this was not your typical career fair. More than one hundred students and 20 adults gathered to explore the many careers available in the field of health. Representing the field, firefighters, doctors, nurses and EMTs were on hand to give the keiki insight into their various careers.
It may have looked like fun and games, but there was a serious purpose to last week’s event – to expose middle school students to careers in health professions.
Nearly all the 150 Molokai Intermediate School students participated in the event, held at the Molokai National Guard’s Armory Building. There were also a dozen students from Hana Middle School on Mau participating.
Locally, the event was sponsored by the Molokai Chapter of the Maui County Area Health Education Center (AHEC). Rosie Davis is the executive director of the program and has been bringing innovative health oriented events to Molokai for three years. She calls her chapter, Huli Au Ola, or The Turning Point of Life. Previous events have included summer leadership programs and an introduction to the use of robotics in health professions.
Davis, who was responsible for bringing M.A.S.H. to Hawaii for the first time, said she was inspired to do so after Huli Au Ola surveyed students about their knowledge of health fields. Davis says the common answer was, ‘we could never be EMTs, or doctors, or firefighters.’
“This event was to show them, ‘yes you can do these things and here are some of the people to look up to,’” says Davis.
Students had a chance to dress in firefighters’ uniforms and try their hand at taking each other’s blood pressure. Practice included fire-hose carrying and tire-rolling relay races – tasks that real firefighters perform when they compete.
Eighth-grader Pierce Kaulia Dela Cruz seemed to sum up the feelings of the day. “This is so cool, I can’t wait until I can be a firefighter someday,” said Dela Cruz, after completing the firefighter relay races.
The event was part of a nation-wide program sponsored by MASH, or Medical Academy of Science and Health. The goal of M.A.S.H. Camp is to promote the health professions to young people before they begin selecting high school course work and setting goals for their future careers.