Students at Academy at Smith in Greensboro start new year with new program

GREENSBORO, N.C. — It's already time to hit the books again for some Guilford County students.

Students at the Early College at Guilford, Greensboro College Middle College, Middle College at Bennett, Middle College at GTCC in Greensboro, High Point and Jamestown, Middle College at N.C. A&T State University, Middle College at UNCG, STEM Early College at N.C. A&T State University, Kearns Academy and the Academy at Smith all went back today.

The first day of school at the Academy at Smith starts with a celebration. Parents, teachers, grandparents and more line the walk into the school building with signs and cheers, helping students kick the year off with a bang.

“It is so great to be back. Every year is a new year with new opportunities, new students, new leadership, new challenges, but new successes and achievements too,” Academy at Smith Principal Lise Timmons-McLaughlin said.

This year there is a lot of new at her school. 81 freshman are starting at the new Academy of Biomedical Science and Specialized Health Sciences this year. It's one of the five career technical signature academies starting in Guilford County Schools this year. The other programs include academies for transportation, distribution, and logistics at Western High School, Computer and Information Science at Northeast High School and Kearns Academy, and Manufacturing and Engineering at Smith High School

“It’s so competitive in the world, so if students can go ahead in ninth grade and start by taking principles of biomedical science and every year you build on that, there’s no roof, there’s no ceiling, there’s no end to what the students are going to be able to achieve,” Principal Timmons-McLaughlin said.

Students get access to a lot of new technology, unique and flexible classroom space, and plenty of hands-on experience. Partnerships with Cone and Novant Health and Area Health Education Centers, or AHEC, help too.

During a camp students attended this summer ahead of the program, students visited and met with each of those partners to get a better understanding of what they can work towards.

“There are doctors and there are nurses in hospitals, but there are other jobs that you can get exposed to,” the principal said.

Through the signature academy, students can graduate with a certification as a CNA, and jump-start careers in mental health, pharmacy, biomedical and other health fields. They can graduate and immediately start work at a job with a livable wage, or get a head start furthering their education in related health fields.

It's an opportunity these students and the entire school are eager to start.

“We are going to have a good year, and we are impacting the lives of children that are going to make a difference,” she said.

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