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Medical students de-LIVER organs to SCHS

Snow furled, taunted and induced early closings and many after school cancellations on Thursday, January 11. Despite the unfortunate weather conditions, volunteers from Northeast Wisconsin Doctors Ought to Care (NeW DOC), kept to their plan and brought preserved human organs for students and faculty to learn about.

For the past three years, Shawano High’s Science Society, led by Mrs. Angela Kowalewski, has collaborated with NeW DOC to offer opportunities for students and community members to learn about primary organs in the human body.

Mrs. Kowalewski shared that her favorite part about this event is witnessing the students reactions to seeing and holding the organs, as well as the interactions that occur between the students at Shawano High and medical students.

A medical student presenting

Three medical students from the Medical College of Wisconsin volunteered their time to teach students about various organs. To begin the after school activity, the volunteers presented a brief slideshow presentation on the main systems of the human body. While this presentation was a new addition to the agenda previously followed in past years, it was well received and helped prepare students.

Freshman Macy Monfils shared, “I really liked the Powerpoint that explained everything because I learned a lot of stuff.”

Monfils had to leave early and was unable to hold any of the organs, yet she still enjoyed herself and learned new information.

With more than ten organs available, the volunteers divided the back of Mrs. Kowalewski’s classroom into stations. At each station there were organs and a medical student to answer questions and further explain the importance and functions of the organs.

“I liked asking the people questions because they had a lot of information that we could take from,” shared junior Faith Schenk. “I wasn’t really expecting people to be there answering our questions so that was really cool.”

The organs that students saw included the ever-captivating brain, a stomach, liver, gallbladder, kidney, three different hearts, three different lungs and intestines.

“I thought the brain was really cool. It was very complex compared to the other organs that were there,” stated Schenk.

It is natural to have expectations coming into any new experience. For many students, the expectations that they had previously held, in regards to organs, varied from the reality of them.

“I liked touching the organs,” stated freshman Freya Dickson. “It felt weird. I thought the lungs would be heavier than they were.”

Students also had the opportunity to compare diseased hearts and lungs to healthy ones. One of the diseased hearts allowed students to see first-hand the placement and role of a pacemaker.

The main motive behind bringing in organs is to instill knowledge into the students at SCHS. This rare opportunity develops interest in the medical field, while also emphasizing the intrigue of the human body.

“I was expecting to gain more understanding of how everything works in the body, which I did,” explained Schenk. “I am planning on going into the medical field, so this showed me that there is a lot of cool stuff that you can do with all of the organs.”

While Shawano is about as far west as the volunteers from St. Norberts’ Medical College of Wisconsin travel, they also visit schools in the Green Bay area.

The pungent aroma of formaldehyde wafted throughout room 2125, joining the murmur of teachers and students celebrating the beauty and intricacy of the human body.