23:34 PM

Following a Healthcare Pathway … Freer and Premont ISD High School Students Receive White Coats and Pins from Continuing Ed's EKG Program

High school students’ pursuit of healthcare education from Del Mar College part of Rural Schools Innovation Zone initiative among rural ISDs in Coastal Bend

Article by Melinda Eddleman

For 18 high school students, their current career pathway is in health care. As part of the Rural Schools Innovation Zone (RSIZ) initiative, which includes the Next Generation Medical Academy, 12 Freer High School and 6 Premont High School students have completed the Del Mar College Health Sciences’ 64-hour Electrocardiography (EKG) Program through the DMC Continuing Education & Off-Campus Programs Division.

Additionally, each student participated and passed the EKG Specialist Certification Examination.

These students are true winners and benefactors of a workforce credential that will lead them to a successful career in the healthcare industry. When public schools and community colleges work together, great things can and do happen. And, partnering with the Rural Schools Innovation Zone is a perfect example of the power of collaboration and working together toward one common goal—student success!
Dr. Leonard Rivera, DMC Dean of Continuing Education and Off-Campus Programs
DMC President and CEO Mark Escamilla and Freer and Premont ISD Students

The students, their families and representatives from their independent school districts celebrated that success on May 5 with a “White Coat and Pinning Ceremony” in the College’s Richardson Performance Hall just as traditional college-age DMC Health Sciences students do.

Michael Gonzalez, RSIZ Executive Director, noted, “During a year when health care has been on our hearts and minds, the Next Generation Medical Academy has rigorously been preparing these students for future careers in the industry. Some students will remain in the program to earn additional healthcare certifications, but some students have prepared for immediate entry into the healthcare field as EKG technicians after high school graduation. As a partnership among the RISZ, the three participating ISDs and Del Mar College, our work is helping to build a strong future for high-quality healthcare workers in our region.”

The RISZ includes the Brooks County, Freer and Premont ISDs, along with Del Mar College. The Next Generation Medical Academy reflects the partnership to build pathways leading to success with students earning certification that fosters careers as nurse assistants, patient care technicians, licensed vocational nurses and even registered nurses through continued educational pursuits.

The 18 Freer and Premont students who completed the EKG Program have been awarded 6.4 Continuing Education Units (CEUs), and these credits may be used toward DMC certificates or associate’s degrees offered through the College’s Health Sciences Programs. DMC Continuing Education’s EKG Program includes the following coursework: fundamentals of cardiovascular anatomy and physiology, basic electrocardiography procedures, interpretation of basic dysrhythmias and appropriate treatment modalities.

Freer_Premont ISD White Coat and Pinning Ceremony_Student Receiving Coat_05-521

The May 5 honorees included the following students:

Freer High School: Isabela Almendarez, Makalya Cano, Liliana Garcia, Aissa Garza, Jayvah Gonzalez, Emily Martinez Lopez, Angelita Martinez, Alyjah Perez, Yanah Perkins, Brianna Salinas, Angelina Trevino and Christian Vasquez

Premont Collegiate High School: Quiana King, Jessica Bocanegra Martinez, Jenna Menchaca, Tiffany Moreno, Damian Perez and Makayla Rodriguez

Both Freer and Premont ISD superintendents couldn’t be more proud of these students and the partnership with DMC and the RSIZ.


We’re excited to have our Next Generation Medical Academy partner with Premont and Falfurrias through the Rural Schools Innovation Zone. And, Del Mar College is an excellent partner for preparing our students with the necessary skills to enter the medical field upon high school graduation or for continuing their medical studies. This is only the beginning of great things to come with this partnership.
Conrad Cantu, Freer ISD Superintendent

Premont ISD Superintendent Steven VanMatre added, “Healthcare workers have valiantly risked their own health to serve their patients and are among the heroes who have emerged from the global pandemic crisis. During this unprecedented time, we are greatly reminded that medical staff have never been more important to the health and well-being of the human race, and it is with great pride that Premont ISD, through the Rural Schools Innovation Zone, provides students with opportunities that prepare them for college and career pathways that focus on health science.”

Of the white coat and pinning ceremony, VanMatre noted, “Our students will begin their journey into the medical field. Because of this effort, our students will be highly skilled, and our communities will greatly benefit from their contributions.”

The May 5 "White Coat and Pinning" Ceremony was livestreamed. If you missed the event online live, watch it now!


About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.