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Billings Clinic helicopter lands at Gallatin High, inspiring bio-med students

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Posted at 8:04 AM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 10:06:42-04

BOZEMAN - Students at Gallatin High School were joined by the crew of the Billings Clinic Medical Flight Helicopter on Tuesday.

The team from the medical helicopter was on hand as a part of a bio-med class that began at Bozeman High School over 10 years ago. Now at both Bozeman and Gallatin High School around 300 students from 9th graders to 12th graders take the class.

The learning opportunity landed outside of Gallatin High School Tuesday morning; this was a way for students to take what they are learning inside of the classroom and apply it to the real world, all while helping them plan out for the future.

“Teach our students about career pathways in emergency medicine and to demonstrate some skills for our students,” says Amy Washtak, bio-med teacher at Bozeman and Gallatin high schools.

Students were able to learn about the medical aspect of being a paramedic but also had the chance to learn about the engineering and mechanics of the helicopter itself.

“I don't think people know what is out there and the different routes that you could take; like, you can be a flight nurse, a paramedic, you could be a pilot—there are so many different ways that you can work on a helicopter,” says Hannah Pearson, Flight Paramedic at Billings Clinic.

Not only were the students in Mrs. Washtak’s bio-med class learning the science from the medical field they were also able to learn the potential career pathways.

“Today’s a great opportunity for them to merge both their interests in different career pathways and skills in healthcare,” says Washtak.

Ruthie Meyer, a 9th grader at Gallatin High, says this year has been all about learning diseases throughout the year.

“We got to learn about diabetes and different treatments for that and how to identify each one,” says Meyer.

Meyer says she had a connection to medical helicopters: her grandfather was also a medical pilot.

“He used to fly Mercy Flight Helicopters in the 80s and that was really cool to get to learn about that,” says Meyer.

For some students, as their time at Gallatin High closes they are ready for their journey in college to begin and embark on their career goals.

“My intention is either to work in public health in the non-profit sector or go to medical school to become a medical doctor,” says 12th grader Bella Childre.

The bio-med class at the two high schools have helped students like Bella blossom that passion for healthcare.

“I joined bio-med because I was interested in the medical field and my passion for it only grew from there. And the fact that as a senior in Bio-med 4 we've been able to get a lot of hands-on learning that applies the knowledge that we've learned previously is really great,” says Childre.

The class has also been able to teach students about topics they may or may not like.

“It kind of showed me what I wanted to do,” says 10th grader Siciliy Putman.

“It showed me what I don't want to do. I am afraid of heights so I will not be flying a helicopter, but I definitely want to help people and I think I want to be a nurse,” says 9th grader Brooke Eisenstein.

As students capture the moments on their cameras, it's the lasting impact that will stick with them.

“Today has been a beautiful illustration of the enthusiasm that our students have to learn and the opportunities that we are blessed to be able to provide them with,” says Washtak.