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Baldwin High School Participates in Northwell Health’s Annual Spark! Challenge

Students Gain Real-Life Experience in Healthcare Industry

Northwell Health's Annual Spark! Challenge  Baldwin High School students from the Business Academy, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and Medical & Science Academy recently participated in the annual Northwell Health Spark! Challenge. The Spark! Challenge offers high school students a unique opportunity to learn hands-on about clinical and non-clinical healthcare careers directly from the medical center’s team of healthcare professionals. This year’s theme emphasized that every worker within the health system is a hero, whether it is a nurse dealing directly with patients or a financial analyst determining next month’s budget. Fifty schools and more than 1,200 students took part in the 2021 challenge. This was Baldwin High School’s 7th time participating.

While the entire day was online, the students appreciated that the virtual aspect of the event lent itself to catching a glimpse into multiple career paths and backgrounds. Students were organized by team and their chosen career track. Each team followed a different agenda for the day that featured virtual presentations, demonstrations and job shadowing. Some of the career highlights from the challenge included the demonstration of different ventilator technologies from respiratory therapists, wellness tips from health educators, breathing exercise tutorials from the physical therapists, a tour of the warehouse from the Office of Procurement and an overview of the cancer research currently conducted by the Feinstein Institute.

Dr. David Langer, chair of neurosurgery for Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and star of the Netflix documentary, Lenox Hill, served as the keynote speaker, in which he described his experience working in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world throughout the pandemic. With elective surgeries placed on hold, Dr. Langer and his team had no choice but to adapt their skill set in order to help, working with intensivists—a board-certified physician who provides special care for critically ill patients—on the frontlines. His main message stressed the importance of lifelong learning.

The next step for the competing teams is to collaborate and brainstorm to create a themed poster and a 30 second career promotional video, working with their school advisors to meet all competition guidelines. For Baldwin High School, Ms. Pat Banhazl, school to career coordinator, and Carissa Johnston, a chemistry teacher, will advise the Medical teams, while Ms. Michele Leonardo, business teacher, and Samantha Billig, family and consumer sciences teacher, will help guide the Business teams.

Prizes will be awarded to the most creative presentations and impactful advertisements, as determined by a team of judges on April 15th. Last year, Baldwin High School’s teams won multiple prizes.

Northwell Health’s unique Spark! Challenge is a testament to its committment in growing, developing and empowering the next generation of healthcare leaders.