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Freedom High School's Health Career Leadership Team was selected as the top performing team!

Students explore health careers at leadership forum

May 30, 2018 - Student Success

Hillsborough County Public Schools, in conjunction with the Council for Educational Change (CEC), recently conducted a three-part Health Career Awareness Leadership Forum (HCLF) for 12 high schools.  Each school was represented by a four-person team consisting of two students, an administrator and a counselor or instructor.  These teams were present and participated in each session's organized activities, and during the final session, presented their findings, a slideshow, and their plans for sharing the information they had gained at their schools. 

After viewing each presentation and using a scoring rubric, the judges chose the winning team from Freedom High School, in a competition that separated four schools by only 1 point. Freedom High will use their prize winnings to help initiate a “Scrub Club” to share all of the various careers with the students. Tampa Bay Tech won the “Peoples’ Choice Award."

In speaking with the student members of the Plant City High School team, Lizett Arriaga, a junior, and Erik Avila, a 10th grader, it became very apparent that the Health Career Leadership Forum was having not only the intended result, but inspiring a great deal of deep contemplation and more investigation into possible health careers of which students may not have been aware.  Erik said, "The most important part of all of the sessions was learning about new health careers, their benefits, their working conditions, and the education that was required to enter into them."  Lizett was even more specific.  Lizett said, "You have to know your steps in pursuing your career, and you have to be knowledgable about where you are going."  

Erik is now thinking about a career as a surgical technician, inspired by the program at Erwin Technical College, which was one of the sites to host a Leadership Session. Lizett is checking out multiple career pathways, including phlebotomy, home health aide and medical skills assistant, all areas that have a fairly quick turnaround from school to work, and all which provide a sound basis for moving into a more skilled health care area such as nursing.  

Chris Jargo, Director of Career and Technical Education for HCPS, said "the most valuable part of the HCLF was the interaction between students, educators and administrators, alongside industry professionals. We were able to create collaboration opportunities that enriched our school-based teams so that they could bring new-found knowledge back to their current and future peers."

According to the CEC, "Students, teachers, and principals need an awareness of the job skills and opportunities needed for current and future employment. The Council recognizes that not every child goes to college so it's important to teach our students the necessary skills to help them succeed in the workforce as well as educate them on the variety of opportunities available that don't require a college education. The Council is helping schools re-frame their curriculums to address the skills mismatch. The Council's Career Leadership Forums are designed to bring career awareness and information to principals and teachers, so that students graduate from high school with the job skills required for employment in specific content fields." 

Check out this video about the Health Careers Leadership Forum created by Sickles High School video production students!

For an overview and more photos of the Health Career Leadership Forum from the CEC, visit their website at  

For more information about Health Career programs available in Hillsborough County Public Schools, contact Chris Jargo at

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