High school students face enormous pressure during their last two years. Between college readiness exams and the strain of classes, they have to somehow also figure out what they want to do for the rest of their lives.
It can be helpful, then, to get a little experience before making that decision. And that’s just what upperclassmen in Marion’s career and community connections program are doing.
Nathan Cyr, Landon Pedersen, and Erika Hess are three students in the program.
Cyr spends his sixth and seventh hours at Marion emergency medical services, assisting with whatever’s needed and doing ride-alongs to emergency calls. He’s a volunteer firefighter besides, so he can help out on that basis during calls, but mostly he just watches.
“It’s helped make up my mind what I want to do,” Cyr said. “I want to help people, and just get experience now.”
Cyr plans to go to Butler Community College for paramedic nursing. He said his ultimate goal would be to be a pediatric flight nurse.
Landon Pedersen spends his final period with district maintenance man Quinn Trapp fixing up the school. He’s going to Butler Community College to study mechanics.
Pedersen is a volunteer firefighter and does EMT ridealongs after school. He works at Cardie Oil and used to do so through the school, but he said it was more convenient for the school to switch his work study to maintenance work.
Junior Erika Hess works in the radiology department at St. Luke Hospital. She isn’t sure where she’s going to college yet, but she wants to work in radiology somewhere, she said.
“They do CAT scans, X-rays, nuclear medicine, all that kind of stuff,” she said. “They’ll explain it to me as they’re doing it. They’ve trained me how to do the X-ray so I can help them with the film and stuff.”
Hess said she learns a lot at her job, but it’s not quite like a class because there are sometimes extended periods of downtime.
“Usually it’s just X-rays, CAT scans, whatever, then one day it was a Code Blue, and only one person was there, so I had to help,” Hess said. A Code Blue is a dispatch term for no pulse or respiration.
Cyr remembered that call — he was working EMS at the time.
“Think that’s the most exciting thing I’ve done is Code Blue or Code Black calls,” Cyr said. Code Black calls are for deceased persons.
“Those are not fun,” Pedersen replied.
“Those are fun,” Cyr said. He said seeing dead bodies on his job doesn’t faze him.
“I’ve seen dead bodies before this job, but yeah I see them,” he said. “It’s something you’ve got to get used to now. It really doesn’t bother me. If you’re going to die, you’re going to die.”
Cyr and Pedersen are both volunteer firefighters, and spent 16 hours at the Schaefers house fire in January.
“My first plan was to go in for firefighting and nursing and paramedics, and then Schaefers’ house caught on fire, and that made me decide, ‘Nope,’” he said. “I’ll do it as a volunteer position for Marion if I come back. There’s no way I’ll do that full-time.”
Cyr said he wants to move to a larger city, but that he wants to come back to Marion to farm when he retires. Pedersen said he wants to stay in Marion. Hess said she wants to move to a bigger city.
Family and consumer sciences teacher Ellen Haslouer heads the career and community connections program.