- Maize South Elementary School
2021 graduate Gracie Dean among growing number of Maize USD 266 students interested in health science classes, careers
Through Maize USD 266’s Maize Career Academy, she earned her certified nursing assistant (CNA) certification and, at age 17, has worked in a local long-term care facility during the COVID pandemic. She has had firsthand experience of the effects of COVID working with her patients, as they have lost spouses, have been isolated, and had to go into a long-term care facility because of COVID. Gracie wants to go into healthcare and ultimately become a trauma nurse to help people like these patients and care for them.
Gracie, who plans to attend Wichita State University in the fall to continue her nursing education, also took Phlebotomy and EKG classes as a Maize student. She is among the growing number of Maize High School and Maize South High School students interested in health science classes. (Please click here to learn more about the Maize Career Academy’s Health Science pathway.)
The Maize Career Academy during the 2020-2021 school year saw a 20 percent increase in students interested in its CNA class, and the school added an additional block to accommodate the growing interest. A total of 60 students enrolled, and many, like Gracie, were passionate about working in healthcare as soon as they could during the pandemic. Students began their CNA courses before the first day of school in September 2020, as the courses for WSU Tech started the first week of August.
Another healthcare course offered at the Maize Career Academy for credit through WSU Tech is Anatomy and Physiology. This is a foundational course for students pursuing careers in healthcare. The academy saw an additional 22 percent enrollment increase in this course, with 110 students enrolled for 2021-22.
For Maize Career Academy Principal Dr. Lindsay King, the increased enrollment and students motivated by the COVID heroes of today remind her of an experience she had earlier in her own career. Following the Sept. 11 attacks, Dr. King was among those motivated to pursue a career in the military inspired by Sept. 11 heroes. She joined the U.S. Air Force and served in locations around the globe, including at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita and in Turkey. She earned her master’s degree in education while serving and taught in Italy. She returned to the Wichita area, worked for the Derby School District, and earned her PhD before joining Maize USD 266 this school year.
KMUW reporter Suzanne Perez, left, interviews Gracie Dean and her mother, Lindsey Dean, about Gracie’s interest in a career as a trauma nurse.
Maize Career Academy Principal Dr. Lindsay King tells KMUW reporter Suzanne Perez about how her students, inspired by COVID medical heroes and pursuing studies and careers in medical fields, reminds her of her own experience joining the U.S. Air Force inspired by the heroes of Sept. 11.