Never too early to learn about helping people

OLMITO — REACH.

If you’re pursuing the medical profession, you’re definitely reaching toward a career that’s expanding rapidly with new procedures, new facilities — and new jobs.

Ryu Esparza, 11, is one of 90 students who learned how to perform CPR, check a pulse, and use a defibrillator this past week. He and the other sixth graders from throughout the Valley were learning about health procedures in a program called Real Educational Activities for Careers in Healthcare Summer Program.

“This is the brachial artery,” said Jose Garza, 17, one of the program’s mentors. He leaned over the mannequin simulator and directed Ryu’s hands.

“Then you have the radial pulse, the pedal pulse, and the carotid pulse,” Jose said.

Ryu seemed pretty jazzed by what he was learning

“I know four places you can check for the pulse,” said Ryu, who attends Manzano Middle School in Brownsville.

“You also have the femoral artery,” Jose said.

The activity took place at the South Texas Academy for Medical Professions, which developed the program. Jose and other mentors were in charge of the activities and teachers supervised.

Jose Lucio, assistant principal, said multiple activities were taking place throughout the day.

“They were working on fingerprinting, forensic science, casting footprints,” he said. “This is the pilot program. They are very excited.”

Believe it or not, a shoe print really can tell a story. That’s why the casting of shoe prints is so important in crime scene investigation. It’s important enough to be included in the program’s Crime Scene Investigation activity, and Meagan Sauceda, 11, found it intriguing.

“I’m going right now into Crime Scene Investigation because I’m interested in it,” she said, looking back at a door with the CSI sign.

“My mom was telling me all about that,” said Meagan, a student at Liberty Memorial Middle School in Los Fresnos.

The students also learned about all the germs making the rounds from one person to the next. Nathaniel Tamez, 10, described how he and other students were told they would be doused with pig’s blood and skunk urine. They were more than willing to put on protective clothing.

“It was exciting,” he said. “They tricked us to put on those robes for the glo germs.”

Some sort of jelly was put on their hands.

“It made the germs glow,” he said. “They were little tiny blue dots.”

The students will take with them more skills enabling them to reach toward the health professions if they so choose. In so doing, they’ll become a growing community where they can pursue the medical field, at Medical Academy, the Harlingen School for Health Professions, and perhaps even the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.