College 1st Program
La Joya ISD Prepares Future Medical Professionals
Written by Robert Diaz.
La Joya, TX – A student from La Joya ISD wears a mask and gloves and leans over his
patient, carefully stitching together his open wound. When she has finished, the neat
row of sutures could be mistaken for the work of a professional, but this is the first time
performing surgery. The young woman is, of course, operating on a human skin model
while participating in the College 1st Health Professions CAMP at JD Salinas Middle
The Health Professions CAMP is designed to introduce students to a wide array of
medical careers through interactive, project-based learning in an industry long known to be expanding. La Joya ISD was one of the first school districts in the Valley to open an Academy of Health Science Professions as an independent High School, where
students from La Joya, Peñitas, Palmview and Mission are enrolled for the four high
school years with the opportunity to earn medical industry certifications and college
credits. La Joya ISD became one of the few school districts in the Region to offer their
students advanced preparation for their future healthcare career. According to the US
Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care has become the largest source of jobs in the
United States. The healthcare industry has long been one of the fastest growing in the
US, driven in large part by the aging of the American population. We can see this
growth here in the Rio Grande Valley where the demand for healthcare professionals
has been increasing considerably.
“This experience was really great I was excited to learn more about the medical
field because is something I want to do when I grow up. This CAMP inspires me
to become a doctor” said Melanie Reyna, JD Salinas Middle School Student.
The Health Professions CAMP exposes students to the emerging technologies that
have made waves in the medical field. Economic trends toward increasing automation
suggests that the best prepared professionals of tomorrow will know how to interact with
technology and harness its advantages.
“I want to be success because I want to accomplish a bright future… and set the
example for future generations and make my family proud” said Emiliano
Sanchez, JD Salinas Middle School Student.
La Joya ISD Administration knows how important hands-on experience is for their
students so, not only do students use virtual reality glasses to explore the circulatory
system, but also take part in similar hands-on training that medical professionals are
exposed to. They use human skin models and suturing kits to perform surgery and get
to experience what it’s like to be a nurse during a vitals rotation. Moreover, the students
are mentored by the College 1st instructors which some are medical students, to think of
the broader effects of technology on medical professions and society by-and-large.
“I want to be successful in the future because I want to make my parents proud
and find a career that I enjoy every day” Yareli Benavides, JD Salinas Middle
As students review the human anatomy and explore different medical career options
they can pursue after college, the interspersion of hands-on activities provides them
with practical skills that medical professionals often aren’t exposed to until college. From
removing cavities from teeth models to taking the “vitals” of their peers, students get a
head start on skills they need to become the dentists, doctors, nurses, and surgeons of
For more information on La Joya ISD, please visit www.lajoyaisd.net or contact us at