LA PUENTE, CA – Torch Middle School seventh-grader Ana Simon can check a person’s blood pressure, perform basic first aid and create a splint to immobilize broken bones thanks to Bassett Unified’s second annual middle school summer academy.

The program confirmed Simon’s desire to pursue medicine after learning she can have a career dedicated to helping people.

“I’ve always wanted to work in medicine to help people, either as a pediatrician or as a pharmacist,” Simon said. “The summer academy program gave me the opportunity to learn interesting topics and skills, like the skeletal system and how doctors and nurses run tests.”

Fifty-four Bassett Unified seventh- and eighth-grade students spent a month gaining skills and learning about job opportunities in the engineering and medical fields, showcasing their knowledge in a July 7 parent exhibit. Each student earned a certificate, signifying their competence in concepts and skills learned through the program.

Students also completed a variety of engineering projects, including constructing Lego robots, building miniature rollercoasters and making working catapults made out of popsicle sticks. A group of students modified a popsicle stick bridge project by incorporating paperclips into their design as a way to grip onto surfaces for additional support.

“Our ultimate goal, in both the medical and engineering classes, is that we want our students to think systematically and creatively,” engineering instructor Stephen Stalker said. “It’s amazing to see so many of the students jump feet first into both medical and engineering activities and enjoying them.”

The program also highlighted Bassett High School’s medical and engineering pathway programs and Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program as a way for students to continue learning new skills and gain experience in either fields.

“Our middle school summer academy is an amazing opportunity for our students to realize their potential in medical and engineering fields,” Interim Superintendent Debra French said. “This will prepare out students in deciding which pathway they want to pursue to achieve their goals.”


072017_BASSETT_SUMMERACADEMY1: Torch Middle School seventh-grader Luis Aranda demonstrates how to take a patient’s blood pressure – a technique he learned through Bassett Unified’s middle school summer academy program.

072017_BASSETT_SUMMERACADEMY2: Torch Middle School seventh-grader Heidi Diaz explains to her mother the different types of medical equipment she learned about through Bassett Unified’s middle school summer academy program.