Last fall, Principal Antonio Williams of Sidney Lanier High School realized that there were students interested in going into fields they had little to no knowledge about.
“Students would say ‘I want to be a doctor,’ but they didn’t have the knowledge and the exposure to know what that actually meant,” Williams said.
Williams decided that something needed to be done to meet that need.
“We knew it at that time it was very important for us to try and get someone here to partner with our students to expose them, to provide them with the knowledge they need and provide them with opportunity that they may not be afforded otherwise to help pursue their career choice,” he said.
Starting this spring, Sidney Lanier High School and Dr. Robert Cerfolio, chief of thoracic surgery at the University of Alabama at Montgomery, will form a partnership that will allow students interested in learning about the medical field to learn more about it by way of webinars, internship possibilities and mentor opportunities.
“I think the goal is to try to motivate young people to be the best that they can be,” Cerfolio said. “It’s really just to motivate people to see the opportunities around them and to be as good as they can be.”
Cerfolio said part of the program would be getting interested students paired up with UAB doctors and to shadow them for a day to see what their day-to-day duties involve.
“We’ll do whatever that student wants to do,” Cerfolio said. “It’s going to depend on that student, but we want to expose them to all of these options.”
Cerfolio said he had been considering starting a program in the Birmingham area, but became excited about the opportunity to work with students and teachers at Sidney Lanier.
“I think you have a special set of circumstances that I think that we can maybe help,” he said.
Sidney Lanier High School was founded in 1910 and serves over 800 students