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Scholarships aid New Visions' students

SARANAC LAKE - The Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association is offering several new scholarships to students pursuing a career in healthcare, part of their continuing effort to promote and maintain medical professions in the North Country.

Four scholarships of $1,000 each are available only to students enrolled in the New Visions program at Adirondack Medical Center, a program that gives high school seniors from Lake Placid, Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, and Long Lake school districts the opportunity to gain experience while confirming an interest in the healthcare field.

"They will each earn 13 college credits from North Country [Community College] and four high school credits during the year spent here," said New Visions instructor Alison Riley-Clark. "The program is only open to seniors, and they have to apply to be accepted. It is competitive because we only have 12 slots."

Students participating in the program spend their weekday mornings at the hospital, studying the basics of medicine and delving as much as possible into the work of hospital staff.

"They're doing more than shadowing," explained Riley-Clark. "It's a combination of experiential learning in the hospital and academics in the classroom. They go to all areas of the hospital."

Through the experience, the students get a chance to specify their interests among a wide variety of healthcare professions.

"I've had several students discover a career they never knew existed through the program," Riley-Clark added.

The program has been in place since 2003, and many prior graduates have gone on to careers in nursing. Others are still working towards post-graduate degrees in medicine. Riley-Clark said it was that aspect of recruitment that led SLVHA to offer the scholarships.

SLVHA board members Charles Carroll and Mark Simkins recently announced the scholarships, urging the New Visions students to apply.

"We hope that one or more of you will want to come back to the area," said Carroll. "We see you, the New Visions students, as an investment in the future."

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