Local students earn hands-on healthcare experience while helping kids

MENOMONEE FALLS -- Students from Menomonee Falls High School helped put kids at Ben Franklin Elementary through preventative vision screenings Wednesday. 

The high school sophomores are part of the MFHS Healthcare Academy -- a three-year program designed for students who hope to one day work in the healthcare industry. 

"We have a curriculum that is designed with a healthcare focus," said Healthcare Academy Coordinator Jennifer Tarcin. "They learn medical terminology, they learn ethics, they learn things like healthcare records." 

She said the program also exposes students to about 40 hands-on, career based experiences during a three-year span. Those include Wednesday's vision screenings. 

The high school sophomores were trained to test the elementary students using an eye chart. 

Students that did not meet a certain benchmark were referred on to an ophthalmologist for further testing. 

The MFHS students have been helping with the screenings for several years.

School district nurse Julie Italiano-Thomas said it's an important job. 

"Two years ago, the students caught a student that was blind in one eye and had a degenerative disease and needed surgery," she said. 

The high schoolers said they were appreciative of the opportunity to assist. 

"It’s really cool," said high school student Sebastian Barnes. "I like it because it's going to prepare you for the actual healthcare field." 

"I get to help people before I even graduate," said high school student Ashley Tarcin. "That's a really special experience." 

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