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Hillyard students place 2nd in national EMT competition

Marissa Foster and Kali Justice are recent graduates from Central High School and were students in Hillyard Technical Center's fire and EMT training program.

Posted: Oct 11, 2021 9:09 PM
Updated: Oct 12, 2021 8:47 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) -- Two recent Central High School graduates have promising careers ahead of them as first responders.

The two, Marissa Foster and Kali Justice recently took second place in a national EMS compettion.

Foster and Justice were students in Hillyard Technical Center's fire and EMT training program. It was there they learned how to respond to a wide number of different scenerios they could face out in the field.

"Some trauma, some scene size-ups, medical. We also had where we would stabolize a long bone fracture or arm fracture," Justice said.

To even get to the national competition Foster and Justice first won district and statewide events. During the national competition, held remotely due to Covid 19, they were given a variety of simulated emergency situations that they had to respond to.

"We had a vehicle versus tree and they were just battered," Justice said. "We're looking at a dummy that has nothing wrong but we have to use what our instructors are telling us. They have multiple lacerations or they have glass all over them."

Both Justice and Foster said that when approaching a scene, even simulated, it's important to keep your cool and apply critical thinking skills.

"How many people do we have? Do we have any witnesses that can tell us what's going on? Is the scene safe for us to go into? Do we have the right gowns? Do we need to call another ambulance crew?" Foster said.

For their instructors at Hillyard Technical Center, there's nothing but pride and being grateful that they are able to offer such a unique opportunity for students to learn.

"You get the opportunity to know that you have taught them and they were soaking up those skills and they were going out performing in life," said Angie Jones, an emergency services instructor at Hillyard. "You hope one day I will see them come through the door for an emergency. I may be working with them one day and I know the skills they know already."

Justice currently works for the St. Joseph Police Department. Foster is a student at Missouri Western, where she is in the ROTC. She says she is interested in going into nursing in the military. Both of them say they are thankful for the chance to get a jump start of their career choice while they were in high school.

"It's really a great opportunity because not many kids want to go into a hands on field anymore," Justice said. "I'm seeing more and more people that want to go into this but not want to go out of high school."

Foster said she became interested in first resonder work because her father is in the field. Justice said she turned to emergency care after witnessing her grandmother having a severe stroke and seeing how the first responders reacted.

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