Community News Donation helps Ridgeland High School students get career-ready

Community News Donation helps Ridgeland High School students get career-ready

August 15th, 2018 by Myron Madden in Community North Georgia

Thanks to a recent donation of medical equipment from CHI Memorial, students at Ridgeland High School hoping to find careers in health care will be able to get one step closer to achieving occupational success.

Last week, the nonprofit health care center donated three electrocardiogram machines and their accompanying supplies to the high school through Walker County Schools.

The EKG machines, used to measure the heart's electrical activity, will be placed in the school's Healthcare Science classroom and used for a new health occupation class starting in January.

Overseen by registered nurse Jessica Sparks, who teaches the school's health occupation classes, the course will train students how to use the machine and interpret its readings.

"That's early detection, sometimes, that saves someone," said Ridgeland High School Principal Karen Hughes. "The students are so excited because they've heard about [the machine], they've seen it in the textbook, they've seen things online ... but now they get the opportunity to get to use it."

Starting next spring, the school will also be able to offer a class that will allow students to obtain their EKG certification. Walker County Schools and the Walker County Chamber of Commerce have also acquired a grant through the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education that will be used to cover the certification exam costs for low-income students.

Hughes said the certification will give graduates a leg up as they apply for nursing programs and search for jobs later on.

"Any time a student can earn a certification, it gives them a step ahead," Hughes said.

She stressed that these new classes would not be possible without CHI Memorial's generosity, especially since the cost for a single EKG machine can easily start anywhere between $1,000-$3,000.

"I'm just very thankful for their partnership and their willingness to help provide us resources to meet the interests and needs of our students," said Hughes. "By them just giving us these machines, we're able to provide students with hands-on clinical skills that can give them the advantage when they're applying for a job."

Email Myron Madden at