SARANAC LAKE - The New Vision program, which has been located at the Adirondack Medical Center for six years, graduated 10 students June 12, giving them a jump start on their careers in health care.
The program - offered to high school seniors from the Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, and Lake Placid area - is a program of Franklin, Essex and Hamilton BOCES that gives the students on-site experience at AMC.
"It's a pretty intense academic program," said instructor Alison Riley-Clark. "It's not just shadowing. It's very college-preparatory."
Riley-Clark, who was also a nurse for 25 years, considers the program to be a "half-step" from high school to college, and gives the students assignments and tasks they may face in college.
"[What] really is heartwarming for me and our other teacher, Rhonda Meserole, is when [the students] come back and they say, 'Everybody else was struggling their first year of college, but we were totally fine,'" said Riley-Clark.
She explained the students learn how to write a research paper, and plan out their time, "which is a big challenge when you get to college and you don't have class every day."
Overall, Riley-Clark said a big experience the students learn from New Vision is they can do the jobs they see physicians and other health care workers perform.
"These are jobs that you learn," she explained. "You go to school, you learn the information and then you can do the job. And, I think it's very empowering that they really get a chance to see the jobs being done and see that it's a series of tasks that you learn how to do and you just build your knowledge and they you're able to do the job."
Riley-Clark has also found through her six years of being an instructor for the program, the students who graduate leave the program with "really good connections and mentors at the hospital."
"And, what's really great is that it's local people who are mentoring them, who have an interest in them," Riley-Clark said. "They want to see them succeed in their career."
The program has plenty of other benefits for students including gaining "maturity" and an "ability to interact with people, professionally."
"That's really valuable when you go on to college," she said.
The new term for the program will begin in the fall, with 13 students already selected.