May 17, 2022 – Pumping iron with her personal trainers after work is typical for Andrew Jackson physics and algebra teacher Julia Mayeshiba and probably not unique for any educator wanting to stay in shape.
What may be unique is that Mayeshiba is doing her bench presses, leg extensions, and cardio right on the school’s campus. And her personal trainers are her students.
Specifically, they are seniors In’dreauna Bargeron and Chase Stanford, two of about 200 students in the school’s Sports Medicine Academy who are learning all aspects of the field including personal training.
“I’m learning so much from my students,” said Mayeshiba. “I don’t like to go to the gym because the gym is a scary place. But these students are making it less scary and they’re teaching me more about how to build a workout and how to use the machines.”
Providing personal training sessions to school staff is just one of many hands-on opportunities to master their craft under the program says Bargeron, who is graduating in May and plans to study sports medicine at Tallahassee Community College and then Florida A&M University.
“I feel like that without this program you can go into college not really knowing anything except what’s in the textbook,” said Bargeron. “But you’re ahead of the game here, and you get to actually see what it’s like. It’s very hands on.”
Stanford – who plans to study kinesiology at FAMU – agrees.
“Most of the teaching is very hands on,” said Stanford. “It’s not out of a textbook.”
This is by design says the program’s co-director Tristen Robinson.
“One of the things we tell them is that being in this program gives them marketing value for whatever level they want to take their professional care,” said Robinson. “It shows they are legit, and they have a foundation that sets them apart from anyone who is trying to enter the field at the same level.”
Robinson and a team of three instructors – including the school’s athletic trainer – lay a foundation for students with classes in medical skills, , anatomy, and physiology. The program than branches off into two different pathways in which students can get certified: Personal training and Certified Medical Administrative Assistant.
Robinson says the team makes it a point to provide real-world experiences. For example, students get to shadow and assist the athletic trainer during game days. They also have opportunities to observe him as he helps student-athletes rehab.
This was important for both Bargeron and Stanford. Bargeron spoke of her fascination watching the trainer assist with an athlete with a tibia injury. Stanford, an athlete himself, said he suffered a hip injury during his track-running days. Observing his orthopedic surgeon as he helped him rehab is what grew his passion for sports medicine. But what has kept him in the program is the engaging classes and the instructors like Robinson.
“She’s a teacher but she makes the learning fun,” said Stanford. “I don’t ever remember a boring class with her. It is always something new. Her class is engaging. I am grateful to have had her as a teacher. And I’ll probably remember her forever honestly.”
Both he and Bargeron began as underclassman at Andrew Jackson not sure about their career path. They are now looking forward to graduating and exploring a sports medicine career; something that is a source of pride for Robinson.
“Personally, this is rewarding because you see students enter the program one way and see them leave the program as seniors ready to take on the world,” Robinson said.
Visit Andrew Jackson’s Sports Medicine Academy webpage for more information about the program.