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Lead Arlington places spotlight on clinical internships and TigerLife

students on a roundtable

Lead Arlington returned to ACS this fall by highlighting a new program at Arlington High School that gives students hands-on experience in various medical professions. Lead Arlington is a consortium of school, town government and business leaders who come together twice a year to spotlight some of the latest happenings in the Arlington community. This month’s session kicked off with a roundtable discussion with AHS students enrolled in the year-long Clinical Internship class, a new program that allows students to intern twice a week in medical offices around Arlington.

“I really wanted to start this program because over the years I kept hearing students saying the same thing: ‘I want to be a doctor or I want to be a nurse,’ but that doesn’t even come close to the hundreds of jobs that are available in the medical field,” said Kaitlyn Scherffius, Arlington High’s Health Science teacher, during the roundtable. “I wanted them to be exposed to more areas that could possibly pique their interest.” The clinical rotations include the Arlington Animal Clinic, Memphis Physical Therapy, The Pediatric Clinic, RedMed, Vescovo Family Dentistry and Arlington Physical Thereapy.

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students posing for picture

Students on the roundtable, including seniors Madison Spidle, Isabella Acton, Masoud Khmous, Makala Sharp and Avery Wallace, gave details about the application process to join the class and spoke about their experiences so far working in the medical clinics. “The very first day of working at the Arlington Animal Clinic we saw a cat’s leg get amputated, so it’s definitely real-world,” said Madison Spidle.

Since only 15 students can be in the class, per state rules, the application process was very competitive. Students had to submit an application and three teacher recommendations, and they were interviewed by a panel of judges. Each student’s attendance, behavior records and grades were also examined. “I would tell anyone interested in this class to just do it,” Makala Sharp said. “There’s nothing that beats this experience in high school. Being able to walk into a clinic and talk to patients and actually see what it’s truly like before going into the real world is life changing.”

“I’ve heard nothing but good things from our partners,” Scherffius continued. “They’ve told me how hands-on they have been and how they want to get in there and be a hands-on learner.”

After the roundtable discussion, Lead Arlington pivoted to another booming program at Arlington High: the TigerLife media department. Comprised of digital journalism, tv production, live-streaming and sports journalism, TigerLife is a student-run, student-operated and student-produced media department that covers a variety of news, documentaries and lifestyle features. In addition to having a fully operational tv studio and control room, TigerLife is also known for having one of the most advanced high school live-streaming operations in the state.

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tv studio

“The program continues to grow each year and we see more and more interest from students year after year,” said Jessica Roberts, one of two teachers for TigerLife. “We just started sports journalism as a standalone class this school year, and already I’m teaching three sections, so it’s a program that students are interested in but one in which we need a lot of students.” 

TigerLife, especially the live streaming of sports, takes an entire crew to operate. From the on-air commentators and multiple camera operators to directors, producers and graphic operators, what you see on-screen is only a sliver of what’s going on behind the scenes. Participants at Lead Arlington saw first-hand how the tv magic is made by touring the tv studio and watching the making of a student-produced show called Men in Hoodies.

“What’s so great about TigerLife that I think stands apart from other media departments is that we really encourage the students to be creative and come up with their own ideas and content,” said teacher Patrick Ashbee. “Men in Hoodies, for example, was a concept entirely created by the students; we [teachers] just help them see it through. That’s always been my goal as a teacher…to give them the freedom and flexibility to be creative and go after it.” 

Kristina Exum, now a teacher at Arlington Elementary but also an alumni of Arlington High, said she was surprised to see how much the high school curriculum and programming has changed since she graduated in 2011. "The kids now can actually focus on their path and what they want to do in college or outside of college. They're actually having hands-on experience," Exum said. "Hearing all of this even made me think about how should I or can I carry this back to my 3rd grade classroom to help prepare my students for their next step or school. It's exciting to see what's happening."

Thank you to Shawna Segerson, AHS EPSO Specialist, for organizing Lead Arlington.