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Classroom to ambulance: Columbus' EMT class

by Regis Rouzier

Source: CCHS social media

In the heart of the CCHS campus, some of us aren’t even aware of what's going on behind the closed doors of B15.

Imagine this: it's 8 a.m. and instructor Mr. Matthew Chica, informs his students to move out of the way as he’s pumping this individual's chest; 1-2-3…1-2-3. Don’t be alarmed, it's just a training dummy. This is a typical morning for our EMT class; with each day counting as much as the one before, the dedicated students of this course step closer to becoming future heroes of our community.

In the world today, our emergency medical technicians (EM) are more needed than ever. As they provide life-saving care and support critical moments in people's life; the path to becoming one starts in room B15.

Being one of the only high school level EMT programs in Florida, Columbus’s course stands as a unique opportunity for future and aspiring healthcare professionals. This was teacher Mr. Chica’s goal from the beginning, to expose students not only to STEM classes, but also other programs so they can be equipped with lifelong skill sets and never miss out on real-world experiences.

“By introducing this valuable experience to Columbus, I am confident that I am aiding students in gaining a deeper understanding of their future life interests," Mr. Chica said.

As a student, taking this course could only add more to your skill sets, offering a rare chance to acquire real medical skills at such a young age and setting a solid foundation for future careers.

The EMT program is a chance to make a difference for our students on campus, learn all essential techniques to save lives and even discover different career paths while being in high school.

Source: CCHS Yearbook "Adelante"
“I was always intrigued by the medical field but I never really knew where to start until I joined this program. I now know that this line of work will always be an option for me,” said senior Marco Camacho, student in the EMT program.

It is evident that students won't be coming out of this class with just credits but with knowledge and memories that they will be able to utilize for the rest of their lives. To note, students in the class have to also complete ridealongs with fire stations in the county to expose themselves to real situations where their knowledge and skills are needed.

When asked about a memorable moment in his program Mr.Chica responded with the following, “Evan Piel, a member of the class of 2023, received a dispatch call to aid a male who had overdosed on opiates. Evan acted swiftly, administering Narcan, and his quick response resulted in saving the man's life. It was a gratifying experience.”

Moments like these only reinforce this program and truly show that as it continues to thrive our campus keeps getting better.

“I can truly say though that the best thing is when I get to see my students walk across the stage with their EMT pins knowing that they each deserved them after putting in the hard work,” he said.

Behind the closed door of B15, this program is not just a class but a journey that forms future heroes and professionals by creating pathways to a better future for our students and community.

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