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White Coat Ceremony Welcomes HPA Students to Advanced Academics Program

About 100 Socorro High School students received their stethoscope and white coats as part of the Health Professions Academy (HPA) White Coat and Freshmen Induction ceremony.

“This is a great tradition,” said Fabiola Armendariz, the academy’s coordinator. “Students are so excited and the parents, too. This is their first step into the program.”

The event at the high school’s theater was a formal recognition of the students as chosen HPA members and as future health-care providers. During the ceremony, a parent, family member or special friend assisted the student with the stethoscope and donning the white coat on stage.

HPA, now in its 26th year, was the first of its kind in the district and the region. As part of the program, students do clinical rotations at University Medical Center, Highlands Rehab Hospital, Del Sol/Las Palmas Medical Centers, The Hospitals of Providence – East Campus, Adobe Animal Hospital, Americas HS medically fragile unit, Socorro HS fundamental skills unit and various SISD elementary schools with school nurses.

Amanda Canales, a freshman, wants to become an anesthesiologist. She feels proud to have been accepted into the four-year program.

“It’s such a big accomplishment,” Canales said. “This ceremony means I am a permanent part of the program. I am so happy and my parents are happy, too.”

Yvette Melendez, whose daughter Melanie Melendez also received her white coat, said the ceremony opens a new chapter in her daughter’s life.

“She is now learning about the medical field because she wants to be a pharmacist,” Melendez said. “This is going to be a new edition to her learning experience. We are all very excited for what the future holds.”

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