Fresno students get taste of graduate life through Doctor's Academy

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With high school graduation just a few weeks away many seniors are getting ready to embark on their next round of education.

There are 29 seniors that report to a classroom at Sunnyside High School every week as part of the school's Doctor's Academy.

The four-year commitment is a crucial part of the students' success after high school, as most want to go on to become doctors.

This college wall in class is proof of former students' achievements.

"It really showed me what it's going to be like," senior Cristian Rodriguez said. "It showed me what the medical field is like-- the profession, what type of college, the curriculum I would be looking at."

The Doctor's Academy is a partnership with UC San Francisco School of Medicine to give students the tools they need to do well in medical school.

While some daily activities include simply researching colleges, scholarships and filling out applications, on other days students hear from guest speakers from UCSF and local professionals.

Then, two summers in a row, the students intern in the field, which Rodriguez says helped him realize he wants to be a cardiothoracic surgeon.

"I got to sit in on a couple surgeries ranging from different fields," he said. "And I just really liked it you know it's just you and the patient and you're doing the best you can do to help them."

"That really got me more into because I got to see different areas of the surgery room, the nurses, the surgeons, the anesthesiologists," student Marco Lopez said.

Sunnyside High School teachers and staff say what makes the program successful, though, is the support system provided for each student -- from the principal, vice-principal, counselors and teachers, the students get a ton of one-on-one attention and help.

"We do tutorial sessions, binder checks to make sure we're on top of my stuff," Lopez said.

"There's so many people," vice-principal Angelica Reynosa said. "There so many layers of support so it's really hard for them to fail."
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