SEARCY, Ark. – Searcy High School is offering students a chance to get a head start on a possible career path.

The high school added new nursing and emergency medical technician career tracks this school year. Principal David Landers said it is part of their goal each year to address the needs of their school and the White County community.

Last school year more than 100 students took a Foundations to Healthcare class. Starting this year students who took that class chose one of three tracks: nursing, EMT or the existing sports medicine track.

Sports medicine is taught at the high school with the others being offered through a partnership at Arkansas State University Beebe’s Searcy campus. Landers said the school doubled the number of students they send to ASU Beebe daily over the past year.

“Any time we get an opportunity to add a pathway, we are going to do our best to get there,” the principal stated.

The athletic training room is in the newly constructed arena on the school campus. A class of juniors and seniors saw it for the first time Thursday. From ice baths to bandaging tape, every tool for their success was available.

“I’ve always grown up in the medical field, and I just love it,” Laney Layton said. “I love to help people.”

Layton added at least one of the classes she’s taking is a class college juniors would typically take, and she’ll already essentially have a semester completed before graduating.

Sports medicine teacher Brooke Miller said it allows each student she meets to get their feet wet without time and money figuring it out in college.

“To be able to build on that rather than start from nothing,” Miller explained.

Others going to ASU Beebe for career education can focus on areas in business, marketing, STEM and agriculture.

“It really set them up to get into a career faster because they’ve gotten to experience what it’s like before going to college,” Miller said.