Wallenpaupack Area High School has partnered with The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) to offer a summer program for  economically disadvantaged students.


Wallenpaupack Area High School has partnered with The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) to offer a summer program for  economically disadvantaged students.
The program is called the Regional Education Academy for Careers in Science-Higher Education initiative, or REACH HEI. Current sophomores who have achieved a grade point average of 3.0 and who meet certain income eligibility requirements may apply for admission to this program before March 1, said Joann Hudak, Assistant Superintendent at Wallenpaupack Area School District.
Students will spend four weeks this summer at TCMC working as part of a research team with nationally recognized researchers, medical students, and undergraduates, along with other high school students. The program is designed to help students make a life-impacting choice this summer by choosing to begin the process of enhancing their academic skills, test-taking abilities and creating a structured career and college plan, explained Dr. Hudak in a letter prepared for parents of Wallenpaupack sophomores.
In addition, the students will earn $250 a week by participating in the program. Recognizing that transportation may be a problem for some students, the school district will work with families to assure that their son or daughter does not miss out on this incredible experience, Hudak stated in a letter sent to parents an guardians of their high school students.
Dr. Hudak said that a meeting with parents, interested students and a TCMC representative was held Thursday night at the high school. Five sophomores were applying and there could be a few more, said Hudak.
“This is an incredible opportunity,” Hudak said, “The idea that they would be mentored this summer and all the way though the completion of college.”
The hope is that some of the mentored students will pursue medical studies at TCMC.
The offer was also made to partner with Wayne Highlands and Western Wayne school districts.
TCMC announced the partnership last October, with area colleges and high schools to expand the number of applicants entering healthcare professions in Northeast Pennsylvania.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) authorized a grant of $745, 513 for year one and recommended future support of over $800, 000 for each of the next two years.   
Dr. Hudak noted that Wallenpaupack has already been actively involved in encouraging students to pursue the broad label of healthcare. For several years the School District has offered a one week summer program partnering with Wayne Memorial Hospital. Local physicians have come to the high school to talk with students, and field trips have been made to colleges.