Jalen Harris practices filling a syringe for a test on injections.Jalen Harris practices filling a syringe for a test on injections.

      Jalen Harris sets high goals. Those goals aren’t only for himself but for his siblings for whom he wants to set a good example.

     “I want nothing but the best for my younger siblings and I want to show them a path that mainly revolves around hard work,” Jalen wrote in the speech he delivered for his SkillsUSA competition.

     Jalen is a senior in the Health Science program and plans to continue in nursing after high school and possibly become a chiropractor. He credits his parents for these aspirations.

     “I developed my work ethic from my parents and used that throughout my high school days,” he said in his speech, “What Does ‘Empowered to Succeed’ Mean to Me?” 

     Jalen is performing his clinicals at Adena, an internship many Health Science students take part in during their senior year. Adrienne Davis, one of Pickaway-Ross’ Health Science instructors, explained that students, while shadowing a medical assistant (MA), work with their own patients. 

     “It’s basically a really long interview,” Adrienne said of the eight-week process. “If they make a really good impression, a lot of times they’ll get a job. Adena places them in clinics that need MAs so (Adena) can try out different kids,” who rotate through clinics every few weeks. 

     Jalen has already made that good impression. His MA wrote in an e-mail to her supervisor: “My staff have been really impressed with him. They said he is well spoken and interacts very well with the patients. They have enjoyed having him observe in our office and feel he will be a good asset to any department in the future.” 

     “It was good recognition of his character and his abilities,” Adrienne said.

     Jalen is modest about his accomplishments, chalking it up to hard work and opportunities he pursued.

      One such opportunity was volunteering with fellow SkillsUSA members at the Veterans Healing Garden at the Chillicothe VA.

      Jalen referred to his time planting shrubs, mulching and cleaning up the garden areas as a “calling” for him to give a tribute to those who fought for our country.

      In working with SkillsUSA members from other labs, he credited instructor Jennifer Payne with providing him with the skills that he used at the garden and that impressed his MA: the importance of teamwork, communication and making connections with others.

      Jennifer said she was excited when Jalen — whom she describes as a “super-conscientious student — was recognized by the Adena staff members.

     “He’s a little reserved until you get to know him. He’s a hard worker. Many times the quiet hard workers are not recognized early and yet he was the first one to be complimented!”