STARKVILLE — Students at Millsaps Career Technology Center gathered in room 12 as red flashing lights lit the classroom and hallway outside. A new $30,000 ambulance simulator was all the rage of the day for students inside Millsaps.
Three career technology education programs will benefit directly from the ambulance simulator: health science core, law and public safety and sports medicine. It will begin to be a full-on teaching tool next semester, according to health science technology teacher Jemeica Arnold.
Funds for the ambulance simulator came from Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006. The act focuses on providing materials for career and technical education programs for secondary and postsecondary school.
Arnold has tried for three years to get funding, and got approved this year for something to not only benefit three CTE programs at Millsaps, but also the entire district.
“With health sciences, our second year students get to do more hands-on things,” Arnold said. “With Starkville (Oktibbeha Consolidated) School District converting from the standard day-to-day school to the academic houses, we felt like things are more tangible. Students can see and put their hands on, and we can invite EMTs and paramedics in from the community which will be more informative for (the students). … (People at the SOCSD central office) encourage us to use the Perkins funds that our school district has for things our students really need. We’re now one of the few schools in Mississippi that have one. We want to invite other schools and even use it for our elementary students to come through and do a field trip.”
One graduating senior in both the health science program and the sports medicine program is excited for what the new teaching tool will bring to students. Colin Kennedy has wanted to go into the medical field since he was in eighth grade, and in a life-threatening bout with COVID, he figured out he wanted to go into surgery.
“Last year my lungs collapsed because of COVID, and I went to the hospital and was like, ‘Wait, I want to be a surgeon,’” Kennedy said. “In this class, our clinicals help us, and we get to do so many different specialties. One of our units is an Emergency Medical Services unit, and this will be a better hands on approach. Everyone can actually see what it’s like to be in an actual ambulance.”
The ambulance simulator will be fully stocked with oxygen and suction capabilities, IV fluids, an automated external defibrillator, a working stretcher and basic medical supplies. It took two full days to assemble, and it is now waiting on the final touches with stickers to make it look like an actual ambulance.
Daejohn Jonson is a second year law and public safety student and the state vice president of Skills USA, a national career tech organization that hosts competitions. Jonson says this new simulator will help law and public safety students and students within Skills USA to truly understand what being in an ambulance is like.
“From a law enforcement standpoint, we’re taught that police work together with EMTs and paramedics,” Jonson said. “It’s better to have an understanding of what the ambulance looks like and what equipment is in it. Some officers are trained in field medics and I think this will help with that. There are also portions in Skills USA competitions that people can now really compete in those portions.”
The ambulance simulator is housed in room 12 of Millsaps, but Arnold wants to be clear that it is for the entire district and she looks forward to what the next school year will bring.