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Cardinal Gibbons launches Emergency Medical Technician program

Partnership with Barry University will allow students to graduate with EMT certification

Omar Jirau, a 1995 graduate of Cardinal Gibbons High School and Emergency Medical Technician instructor for the school and Barry University in Miami Shores, cuts the ribbon during ceremonies Sept. 24, 2021 at the Fort Lauderdale school.

Photographer: LINDA REEVES | FC

Omar Jirau, a 1995 graduate of Cardinal Gibbons High School and Emergency Medical Technician instructor for the school and Barry University in Miami Shores, cuts the ribbon during ceremonies Sept. 24, 2021 at the Fort Lauderdale school.

FORT LAUDERDALE | In partnership withBarry University, Cardinal Gibbons High School has launched an Emergency Medical Technician program that will allow its students to graduate with certification as EMTs.

Gibbons is the first Broward County private school to offer the curriculum, which was developed by Barry University in Miami Shores.

Katrina Azevedo, assistant principal at Cardinal Gibbons High School, talks about the new Emergency Medical Technician program kicking off at the school during the ribbon-cutting Sept. 24, 2021.

Photographer: LINDA REEVES | FC

Katrina Azevedo, assistant principal at Cardinal Gibbons High School, talks about the new Emergency Medical Technician program kicking off at the school during the ribbon-cutting Sept. 24, 2021.

John Murray, provost and professor of psychology at Barry University in Miami Shores, speaks during the blessing and ribbon cutting Sept. 24, 2021 for Cardinal Gibbons High School's Emergency Medical Technician program, made possible through a partnership with Barry University.

Photographer: LINDA REEVES | FC

John Murray, provost and professor of psychology at Barry University in Miami Shores, speaks during the blessing and ribbon cutting Sept. 24, 2021 for Cardinal Gibbons High School's Emergency Medical Technician program, made possible through a partnership with Barry University.

“This program will prepare students for a solid career. We are so happy to be part of this partnership,” said John Murray, provost and psychology professor at Barry, and one of those in attendance at the Sept. 24, 2021 blessing and ribbon-cutting for the new program.

Murray was joined by Gibbons faculty, students, parents, and representatives of community partners, including Oakland Fire Rescue and Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale. Father Michael Greer, pastor of Assumption Parish in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, and retired Father Pedro Lleo, gave the blessing prior to the ribbon-cutting outside Gibbons’ EMT Lab.

Katrina Azevedo, assistant principal at Gibbons and coordinator of the program, said the four-year curriculum was in keeping with the school’s continued efforts to “do more for our students.”

“Providing an innovative curriculum that meets our students’ needs is vital,” she said. “The EMT Program not only prepares our students for their future careers, it also creates a direct pathway to critical jobs in our community.”

Students in the EMT program will complete the coursework needed for certification as part of their studies at Gibbons, including receiving hands-on lab instruction from veteran paramedics. Upon completion of the EMT Program, the students will be prepared to take the National Registry Emergency Medical Technician Exam (NREMT).

They also will gain valuable field experience by accompanying local healthcare workers during clinical rotations at Holy Cross’ Emergency Department and going on ride-alongs with first responders from the Fort Lauderdale and Oakland Park fire departments.

Seniors at Cardinal Gibbons High School gather for photos during the celebration and official opening of their school's new Emergency Medical Technician Program, in which they are enrolled. The program is made possible through Barry University in Miami Shores.

Photographer: LINDA REEVES | FC

Seniors at Cardinal Gibbons High School gather for photos during the celebration and official opening of their school's new Emergency Medical Technician Program, in which they are enrolled. The program is made possible through Barry University in Miami Shores.

“What they are learning in this program will be the foundation for whichever part of the medical field they choose to go in,” said lead instructor Omar Jirau. “The skills they are learning will be used in every patient interaction they may have.”

The program is ideal for students interested in becoming firefighters, paramedics and emergency room medical technicians, as well as those who wish to pursue careers in the nursing, medical and biomedical fields.

Azevedo said Barry and Gibbons designed a special program for the inaugural cohort of 12 seniors who enrolled this year. More than 75 students are enrolled for future courses.

“Being an EMT interests me for multiple reasons,” said Matthew Whitlock, one of the 12 members of the inaugural cohort. “Being the first one on a scene where you and your team are the ones responsible to save someone and get them to the hospital is one of the most rewarding career choices to me.”

“We hope that our students will develop a passion for the medical field,” said Azevedo. “We hope our students will desire to work with one of the agencies in the future.”

Charts, medical training equipment and devices are displayed during the blessing and ribbon-cutting ceremonies, Sept. 24, 2021, for Cardinal Gibbons High School's new Emergency Medical Technician program.

Photographer: LINDA REEVES | FC

Charts, medical training equipment and devices are displayed during the blessing and ribbon-cutting ceremonies, Sept. 24, 2021, for Cardinal Gibbons High School's new Emergency Medical Technician program.

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