Savannah, Georgia, July 21, 2016 – Parents, grandparent and well-wishers filled the room along with the students of A.E. Beach High School’s Medical and Allied Health Class of 2020. These ninth grade students had just completed a strenuous Summer Enrichment Program under the leadership of Mrs. LaSaundra Wade, Beach High School (BHS) Science Department Chairman and Medical and Allied Health Specialty Program Coordinator.
The Medical and Allied Health Professions Small Learning Community at Beach is a school within a school that offers a comprehensive healthcare preparation program through rigorous coursework, hands-on experiences, and networking opportunities in the healthcare field. High Achieving Juniors and Seniors in the program are nominated to participate in a six week summer Student Educational Enrichment Program (SEEP-Savannah) sponsored by the GRU Medical College of Georgia and Savannah State University.
In addition, students who demonstrate high academic achievement and are highly motivated can be selected to participate in the Medical Explorer Post Program which is in partnership with St. Joseph – Candler and Memorial Hospitals. Dr. J. Alphonso Dandy, Savannah’s first African American eye doctor, CEO of Antioch Foot & Ankle Group and founder of Dandy Youth Development was the guest speaker at the July event. Dr. Dandy shared some of his personal life experiences with the students to demonstrate to them that they can achieve even when faced with extreme adversity.
He told them what “statistics say” about Black students, but countered by telling them “what you can say”. The students repeated with him, “That’s not me”. Dr. Dandy told the students that they held their future in their hands. He told them that they needed five things to be Successful. He had each student to hold out their hand and to repeat after him. He told them, “First you must have a PLAN.
Second you must FOCUS on that Plan. Third you must be DETERMINED. Fourth you must be PERSISTENT. Five and most importantly, you must HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD”. He challenged the students to remove the word excuse from their vocabulary. He assured them that they could make it. They just had to have the “will” to make it. He said that he would be at their graduation in 2020. The students left inspired and motivated.