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'Professional Fridays' peak student interest
Guest speakers liven up anatomy class at NFHS
PT Visits 3 es
Abby Jennings, a student at North Forsyth High, smiles as Corey Hill, a physical therapist with Optimum Health, walks through a typical diagnosis physical therapy session. Hill was a recent guest speaker as part of a "Professional Fridays" series in the school's anatomy class. - photo by Emily Saunders

A visit with an embalmer could be a bit unnerving for some folks, but students in Jennifer Kinsey's anatomy class thought it was "really cool."

Anna Kirkland said a recent visit from Gary Coffey, a director and embalmer at Ingram Funeral Homes, was her favorite day of the course at North Forsyth High School.

"I've always wondered what that job was like," said Kirkland, a junior. "He told us all the things we would want to ask questions about but people were too scared to ask, so he came straight out and said it.

"We got to touch some of the stuff that they actually use. It was really cool ... because no one ever talks about dead bodies."

Like Kirkland, many of the other students in Kinsey's anatomy class are considering careers in the medical profession.

But not everyone plans to be a mortician. That's why she changes it up every other week on Professional Fridays.

"A lot of times, these kids will take classes and they have no clue when they get to college what they want to do, or what they could do," Kinsey said. "This helps them know what's out there in the medical profession, [besides] just being a doctor."

Anatomy is an upper-level course, but Kinsey said many students take it because they think it will be easy.

They find out quickly it's a difficult course. But through creative teaching like Play-Doh creations, skin cubes and drawings, Kinsey said she's able to keep their interest.

"I love Mrs. Kinsey's class," Laine Hoke said. "It is a lot of fun even though it is sometimes difficult.

"Our Friday visitors tell us about their real life experiences and they go in-depth on certain subjects that we may not have had time to go over in class."

Junior Philip Register, who's interested in a career in physical therapy, said he was excited for a recent presentation from Corey Hill, physical therapist with Optimum Health.

"It's interesting seeing what they have to say about it," Register said. "If you're interested in doing that occupation in the long run, and most of the kids taking the class want to seek a medical career, it gives us an insight of what it's like."

Coffey said his experience with Professional Friday was rewarding. Interested in anatomy since his youth, he was excited to speak to students about its importance, not just in his profession.

"I think it exposes them to so much more than just the medical field," Coffey said. "There are other professionals out there that involve so much around anatomy and how you serve others besides the medical field."

The state no longer requires teaching the human body in biology, Kinsey said, which makes anatomy "so beneficial, even if they never plan to go into the medical field.

"It's amazing, by the end of the course, as much complaining as they do in the beginning ... they're so much more aware of what's out there, what their body does and they have more of an appreciation."