Editor’s note: This is the first of three articles highlighting new classes offered at McDowell High School in 2014-15.


Students registering for classes at McDowell High School for the 2014-15 school year will have a few more choices to consider.

During January’s regularly schedule McDowell Board of Education meeting, board members voted in favor of several new courses that will offer students real-life experience in several different fields.

Starting next year, Career and Technical Education at McDowell High School will offer three classes to students grades nine through 12, who are interested in firefighting -- Fire Fighter Technology I, Fire Fighter Technology II and Fire Fighter Technology III.

“Students that take these classes can become certified (in the Firefighter I/II certification modules), just like if they took classes at McDowell Tech,” said Career and Technical Education Director Mary Finley. “Students will actually be in a classroom working on several modules, including fire prevention education, ropes, ladder and emergency medical care to name a few.”

Finley stated that Brad Ledbetter, director of McDowell Technical Community College’s Fire College, and the city of Marion’s Fire Chief Jim Neal are and have been working closely with the school on this program.

She also stated that students who participate in the new fire program will be strongly encouraged to take part in junior firefighting programs locally where they can apply the skills they’ve learned.

Other courses offered exclusively to 11th- and 12th-grade students are in the emergency medical technology field.

The new classes Emergency Medical Technology I and II will help students become eligible to receive an EMT basic certification.

Finley said school had worked closely with Emergency Services Director William Kehler and EMS Operations Officer Eugene Edwards to shape and develop the program.

“We have a lot of students who go on and take this at the community college,” said Finley. “We decided to go ahead and give them this opportunity so that they can be ahead.”

Finley stated that part of the newly constructed building in the Career and Technology Education portion of McDowell High School would house the new emergency medical technology program, which, like the firefighter technology program, will give students a wide range of book work and hands-on activities.

Additional information about these courses can be found by visiting mhs.mcdowell.k12.nc.us, clicking on the “our school” link, and then clicking on handbooks and the Course of Study Catalog 2014-15.

Other new courses approved during this month’s meeting include:

--Agriscience Applications (standard and honors)

--Animal Science I (standard and honors)

--Animal Science II (standard and honors)

--Horticulture I(standard and honors)

--Horticulture II (standard and honors)

-- Pharmacy Technician

-- Biomedical Technology I

-- Biomedical Technology II