Pearl City High paves the way for elementary students to explore health care careers


​Pearl City High School's diagnostic services and nursing services students hosted an inaugural Keiki Career and Health Fair today for elementary students in the Pearl City Complex.

Pearl City High School students studying health care pathways hosted an inaugural Keiki Career and Health Fair today for neighboring elementary schools. Approximately 260 fifth and sixth graders from Lehua, Mānana and Momilani elementary schools were invited to explore health careers, participate in interactive workshops, learn about the human body systems, and tour Pearl City High's health services classrooms.

Hands-on activities included CPR for both humans and pets, practice injections, pharmacy pill counting, nurse patient handling, as well as lessons on blood type, genetics, radiology, hand hygiene and more. 

The event aims to educate younger generations about careers in the health care field, said organizer Judith Morton and Pearl City High School’s Diagnostic Services Program of Study lead teacher. 

“I’ve been wanting to do a project like this for years as a science teacher,” Morton said. “We wanted to inspire students and young people to see what there is in the health care industry. I hope students were able to explore and at least try something new. Hopefully by the time they get to high school, they’ll have a better idea of what they want to pursue.”

Pearl City High senior Keilana Hall led the nursing station with classmate Christian Macanas and together demonstrated how to safely move patients in hospital beds. Their station featured two hospital beds with life-sized mannequins dressed in hospital gowns weighing about 50-60 pounds in each bed. Under the guidance of the high schoolers, elementary students worked together to turn the “patients” on their side, facing the rail, and place a pillow under its legs.

“This activity was inspired by the hands-on activities that we do in class,” said Hall, who aspires to become a nurse one day. “I think having this opportunity for younger kids, it gives them a foot in the door if they are interested in pursuing this career.”

Momilani Elementary sixth grader Kian Omine said the day has been “pretty fun,” adding that he’s interested in “seeing dissecting and learning about the human body.”

Another station included learning about different blood types. Students used droppers to mix colored liquids to learn about how different blood types are determined.

“I like teaching younger students, especially if it’s something I’m passionate about and the health care field is one of my passions,” said Pearl City High junior Jasmine Ermitanio, who also co-emceed the day’s opening remarks. “I want to help people and teaching others things like this helps me know that I am helping others.”

The Keiki Career and Health Fair is the culminating activity for Project SPROUT, which aims to mitigate the shortage of Hawai‘i health care workers by empowering high school students to pursue health care careers and cultivating interest in younger students. 

Morton says the fair is just the beginning of activities being planned to help increase the number of homegrown, skilled medical professionals in Hawai‘i and increase general student awareness of future academy or career pathways.

Project SPROUT is funded through the Good Idea Grants program from the Public Schools of Hawai‘i Foundation, designed to enhance innovation in the classroom and empower teachers to bring their “good ideas” to life. Mini-grants of up to $3,000 are awarded to public school teachers. 

“This is an example of a good idea being funded that has surpassed our expectations,” said Ken Hiraki, executive director of the Public Schools of Hawai‘i Foundation. “It’s mind-blowing — the grant was to help Pearl City High School, but it is being used to really address the serious problem of the shortage of health care workers in Hawai‘i.”

Good Idea Grants applications for the 2024-25 school year are currently being accepted until June 3. Hawai‘i public school teachers can apply at

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