Ahead of the Game

Reagan Hartenberger and Arik Holmes jump start their careers in the medical field


Submitted by Arik Holmes

The HealthCare academy students set up equipment to monitor Savannah Rackovan’s vital signs.

Ianne Salvosa, Reporter

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be in the shoes of a medical professional? Being able to do activities such as working in a hospital, treating patients and performing CPR. Through the Ignite program that dream can become a reality. Seniors Reagan Hartenberger and Arik Holmes gets to pursue their medical career while still in high school.

Ignite is a program based off of the Center of Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) that helps students start achieving their career goals early on.

Ignite has definitely given me a head start in the healthcare field. From the start of this year, I’ve made many professional connections, and now know the area of healthcare I’m passionate about,” Hartenberger said.

Opportunities provided by the Ignite program include shadowing medical professionals and earning certain certifications such as CPR and first aid. With such a leg up into his future career, the Ignite program has made a lasting effect on Holmes.

I have been able to see the inner mechanisms of healthcare as a whole and how people develop interpersonal relationships through their experiences in healthcare. I’ve learned a lot and had fun doing it,” Holmes said.

Likewise, the Ignite program has also greatly benefitted Hartenberger through her experience so far.

I’ve become more responsible as a student. I’ve been given multiple networking and volunteer opportunities, and next semester we are doing rotations in the hospital,” Hartenberger said.

The Ignite program lasts about three hours in the morning for five days a week for the whole year. A regular week (although there are no regular weeks in the Ignite program) in the healthcare academy usually consists of quizzes over medical terminology, guest speakers and case study presentations.

“There really is no regular day at Ignite. One day we could be working on a case study about neurological disorders, then the next day we are touring hyperbaric chambers at the burn center,” Holmes said. With so many opportunities given, it is a given that the admissions process is tough.

The admission process consists of an essay 750 words or less, short answer questions, and an interview. Additionally, applicants have to send in their GPA, grades, and ACT scores. Eventually, Hartenberger and Holmes pulled through and landed a spot as two of the 24 students in the Wentzville School District in the healthcare academy.

Only one quarter into the 2017-18 school year, Hartenberger and Holmes have completed an emergency room innovation, statistical basis for research significance and a medical innovation product. With so many projects and other occupations, balancing school and additional priorities has become a tough job.

“Learning processes have included juggling the workload and staggering what you are working on in class versus at home and knowing when deadlines are,” Hartenberger said.

A lot of responsibility goes into making your future turn into the present. In turn, the medical field lets no person through without a struggle.

“We do have a lot of work to do and if you let yourself fall behind then it could be difficult,” Holmes said.

Along with learning the knowledge needed to have a career in the medical field, Hartenberger and Holmes learn the professional skills needed to become a medical professional at Ignite. Such skills include a proper handshake, professional dress, networking, managing a project, introducing a guest speaker and writing a professional email.

Furthermore, the Ignite program also consists of another strand called Business Startup/Business Solutions. In the business strand, students can learn professional soft skills, presentation skills, interview skills, and how to start their own business.

Ultimately, the Ignite program is just starting to take off and so much success and productivity has already taken place.

“Everyone involved is seeing the value of this experience and I just see growth and positivity in the future,” said Mrs. Green, the HealthCare Academy instructor. What used to be out of reach for high school students is now within grasp thanks to the Ignite Program.

Hartenberger and Holmes’ story proves that great education and incredible opportunities are all around, waiting at your fingertips.