CAST Med High School is Preparing Students to Help Meet the Future Needs of Medical Professionals in San Antonio
By: Dr. Eddie Muzquiz Rodriguez, Principal, CAST Med High School
Hello. I am Dr. Eddie Muzquiz Rodriguez, Principal of CAST Med High School. CAST Med is located at Brooks, in the southeastern part of San Antonio, in the San Antonio Independent School District and is part of the CAST Network of Schools. CAST stands for Centers for Advanced Science and Technology and CAST Med is one of five high schools in the network.
It is predicted that by the year 2030, the city of San Antonio will have one million more inhabitants and we need to get ready. By that time, we will need more doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, radiology techs, researchers, etc., to meet the needs of our citizens. CAST Med High School exists today to begin preparing students to help meet that upcoming demand.
Opening CAST Med High School has been nothing short of an amazing experience. As a St. Mary’s University student, majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry, and earning my bachelor’s degree in 1989, I was interested in attending Pharmacy School upon graduation. As life would have it, I decided to become a science teacher instead, where I worked as a 7th grade science teacher at Wrenn Middle School and then taught high school science at John F. Kennedy High School, both in the Edgewood Independent School District, where I attended elementary and junior high school. After earning my Principal’s Certification, my life completely changed. Little did I know that I would go on to open multiple innovative schools, beginning with Toltech T-STEM Academy in Edgewood ISD and the Harlandale STEM Early College High School in Harlandale ISD and culminating today with CAST Med High School.
Each school has been a unique and wonderful experience, but CAST Med High School allows me the opportunity to see my dream of becoming a pharmacist through the eyes of hopefully many students that will one day get there. As a Holy Cross High School graduate (’84), I developed and strengthened my spiritual faith to be in the service of others.
The CAST Med Difference
We all know that there are many programs in schools that are geared towards helping guide students into medical careers. After planning
CAST Med High School for an entire year prior to opening in 2019, the ideas that were provided by our many partners, coaches, parents, students, and leaders, have created an amazing and unique learning environment for all that attend. CAST Med High School focuses on three major pathways: Biomedical Researcher; Medicine (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, etc.); and Public Health. But CAST Med High School goes beyond this. While many high school programs provide students a great vocational medical preparation, CAST Med High School focuses on providing our students a strong foundation in mathematics and science, as well in the other content areas, so that students continue to be successful beyond high school and into professional medical schools.
CAST Med High School is a Dual Language High School. We focus on teaching students Spanish because if our students are going to become medical professionals in central Texas, being able to communicate properly in Spanish with patients is important, since so much gets lost in translation. Currently, some of our students take Algebra I and Geometry in Spanish—completely in Spanish. As sophomores, some of our students will also take chemistry in Spanish as well. Apart from the content courses students take in Spanish, our school is building partnerships with universities in Mexico. We had to reschedule our planned trips to Puebla, Mexico and to Mexico City to continue learning and practicing Spanish in the capital and at “La Universidad de Las Americas Puebla (UDLAP),” but we will continue to collaborate with our Mexican partners and look to resume international travel post-pandemic.
The Power of Partnerships
Partnerships are critical to the CAST Network. CAST Med High School has over 50 medically focused partners who provide valuable guidance and input as we plan events and schedules for our students. Our Partners also inform us of important upcoming events that our students can participate in as they create their student resumes in preparation for their senior year and scholarship opportunities. We are planning for their graduation and beyond each year by meeting regularly with our partners and informing our students of all available opportunities that are unique to our students so that they continue to be successful beyond high school into professional medical schools and research careers.
As a lifetime student myself, I firmly believe that in America you cannot be what you want to be. That is a lie. You can only be what you WORK to be. And, if you want your dreams to become a reality, wake up already! Opportunities abound at CAST Med. Tutoring, mentorships, volunteering, clubs, internships, and many more, are available to all students. We know that learning is not an easy task and that medical careers require lots of preparation. CAST Med teachers and staff are committed to helping our students achieve their dreams.
Click here to learn more about CAST Med.