A student at Veterans Memorial High School (VMHS) has combined what he loves, with the support of campus and district staff in addition to educational programs; and mixed that with some determination and extra effort to attain a national professional certification no other Mission Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) student has done before.

VMHS senior, Alexis Aranda has officially received his certification as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. The determination and extra effort for the certification came over this past summer, when Aranda was able to complete the EMT training courses at South Texas College (STC). This consisted of 16 hours of college credit course work. After successful completion of the courses came the certification exam.

“I took the entire summer coursework,” Aranda said. Sometimes classes went from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and then weekends of studying. It was a long journey, and I will say that classes at Veterans, at the high school level, did prepare me.”

Aranda said he has always been interested in emergency services but not really into the medical aspect when he joined the Edinburg Fire Department as a volunteer at the age of 14. He said that after he joined the Mission Fire Department as a volunteer during his freshman year of high school he enjoyed seeing the paramedics working on patients and that grew his interest some more. He added that the training he received as a student athletic trainer really helped as well. “They taught me everything from basic first aid and CPR to dealing with more life threatening injuries that can cause a lot of internal bleeding,” Aranda explained. “It exposed me to a different area of medicine.”

During his high school years so far, Aranda has also been active in HOSA DECA, and SkillsUSA competitions and has advanced to state several times. “My teachers were the real inspiration...,” Aranda said. “...and seeing the impact that it had in the field while working with the fire department was really that final push.”

Aranda said he was extremely overjoyed when he received the official certificate and ID card in the mail from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians earlier this month. According to the National Registry, an EMT “provides out of hospital emergency medical care and transportation for critical and emergent patients who access the emergency medical services system. EMT’s have the basic knowledge and skills necessary to stabilize and safely transport patients ranging from non-emergency and routine medical transports to life threatening emergencies.”

Aranda says he hopes to attend The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley for nursing school, and then use the Bachelors Degree in nursing to apply for medical school. As for his work with the Mission Fire Department, he said he plans to keep serving as a volunteer firefighter as it allows for schedule flexibility.

Aranda said getting his EMT certification so early was a difficult path and it may not be for everyone. But his advice to other students is that, “there will be times when you may think it is not for you, but to just give it that little final push, and if you are doing it for the right reasons, you’ll end up enjoying what you do and you’ll make it.”