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Some good medicine: Rockdale Career Academy offers boys medical camp

Photo by Nate McCullough

Photo by Nate McCullough

CONYERS -- The Rockdale Career Academy hopes to breed a new generation of young men going into the medical field.

As part of an ongoing plan to offer career opportunity studies for students going into nontraditional fields, RCA held a men in medicine camp this week for middle school boys, called Scrubs, Scalpels & Sports Medicine.

"We're exposing them to various occupations in the health care arena," said Roger Ivey, Career, Technical & Agricultural Education Coordinator at Rockdale County Public Schools.

In February during the RCPS winter break, RCA offered a girls-in-engineering camp for middle school girls. And next week, RCA will offer another camp for females interested in manufacturing, called Girls Exploring Manufacturing Systems.

Ivey said RCA is using these camps as a recruiting tool for younger students to show interest in enrolling in such programs at RCA. The camps also fulfill federal requirements that mandate RCPS promote nontraditional occupations to its students.

For three hours over five days this week, more than 30 boys were introduced to information and careers in sports medicine, surgery, emergency medical services and dental care with guest speakers, surgical practices and videos about CPR and men who work in the medical field. The boys who were invited took honors or accelerated math and science courses at their middle schools this year.

"I am very interested in being a doctor and dealing with neurosurgery and sports medicine," said Cameron Smith, a rising seventh grader at Conyers Middle School. "It's always interested me to find out how the body works and learn new things to make discoveries."

He and fellow classmate Devan Julien hope to take medical courses at RCA in a couple of years.

"I like figuring out how things occur inside of the body," Julien said. "It's so interesting how body parts work together."

In addition to hearing from individuals who work in the medical field, the students also learned about dissections after a pickle murder. They performed various cuts and looked for signs from the murder on the victims -- dill pickles.

"It wasn't really hard," Julien said. "It was interesting and fun."

The camp is free for students and provided them with scrub outfits, paid for through CTAE funds.

In the fall, RCA hopes to again offer engineering and construction camps for girls and hope to offer more options in the future.

"We may even branch out in other areas that are not necessarily targeted for nontraditional students but students have shown interest in," Ivey said.