Loma Verde Students ‘Learn the Ropes’ – and Medical Science

Five weeks of research and exploration into the field of medical sciences culminated in a unique graduation ceremony for 29 students from Loma Verde Elementary School. Accompanied by their parents and siblings, the Loma Verde students were honored recently as “Saturday Scholars” at the Surface Warfare Medical Institute, San Diego. The fifth- and sixth-grade students worked with members of the military in researching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects, in a standard-based format.

“The benefits of this partnership for our students extends far beyond the academic spectrum,” said Robert Hemmingway, who retired from the Navy and is a mentor and tutor at Loma Verde.

Hemmingway helps coordinate the Saturday Scholars program, which at Loma Verde began in 1995. “The students are exposed to the military culture, the great diversity of our armed forces, and they witness first-hand the value of community service,” Hemmingway said. “Many of these virtues will be ingrained into students for years to come. Our community owes a great deal of gratitude to the leadership at the Surface Warfare Medical Institute for continuing this partnership.”

Principal Sobeida Velazquez said the program is highly engaging to students. They visit Naval Hospital San Diego, experiencing the site’s virtual reality room and a simulator. For example, in the simulator, it can appear as if the students were in Iraq, or on-board a submarine and how to react in such places in an emergency and treat wounded personnel.

“We’re really excited to continue this program,” Velazquez said. “It provides relevant learning opportunities for our students and strengthens our already amazing relationship with our military. Students get a unique opportunity to have hands-on learning experiences in the medical field. We don’t know of any other school that has a program like this.”


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