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His heart is in the health care field

Your Dream is Our Dream: Josaiah Robertson

Kent ISD —Union High School junior Josaiah Robertson began considering a career in health care after social workers taking care of his mother noticed he was a natural. He started researching options, and, now, a year later, Josaiah has made an impression on his Health Career Foundations teacher Alison Vanandel, who said he is one of the most “caring and kind” students she has had, and that he is on the right career path.  

We spoke with Josaiah about his dreams for the future. 

What is your dream? “My dream is to be an RN (registered nurse) so as to become one of the nurses who work on the floor of the hospital. I’m not fully sure which area I want to go into, but I want to work in the hospital, hands-on with patients.”

Why is this your dream? Josaiah said he discovered the health care field while his mother, Idalia Vazquez, was battling cancer; she entered hospice care and died in 2022. It was his mother’s social workers who encouraged Josaiah to consider a healthcare career.

“I would be there helping (my mom) and they would just tell me, ‘You really should get in this career. I think you’d be good for it.’ I started looking into it.”

Josaiah discovered his high school, Union, partnered with Kent Career Tech Center, which offered students opportunities to explore health career fields. He signed up for the Tech Center and “I ended up really liking it. So that is my dream, getting into health care somehow to help people.”

‘It’s eye-opening because you can see how many careers you can have from coming (to the Tech Center).’

— Union High junior Josaiah Robertson

Why do you think people have encouraged you to pursue the health care field? “To be honest, I think because I was the one giving my mom the pills, sorting out the pills, helping her clean her bag. I’d help her get up and walk, use the bathroom. I’d cook for her sometimes. So they were like, ‘I think you’d be a good fit.'”

How are your school and your teachers helping you achieve your dream? “The teachers (at Union High) have been very understanding. If I’m having trouble in an area, they’ll help me push forward and I appreciate that.”

Other accomplishments: Through his Tech Center health class, he has been assisting at a local senior living home and is one of the 55 students heading to the state Health Occupation Students of America — Future Health Professionals competition in Traverse City. 

What are your plans for after high school? Josaiah initially picked a medical assistant track, “but I am rethinking my decision because MA is more of a style I can handle, but nurse tech is more in the hospital, which is what I want to do. So I want to try out MA first and see if that’s my type of flow and then I can get the certificate. Through GRPS, we get two free years at Grand Rapids Community College and they offer nurse tech programs. So I can get both certificates and then, if I end up liking nurse tech, then I’ll just go into that career.”

What is the biggest lesson you have in high school? “The biggest lesson I have learned is to stay open-minded. Never put yourself down, because there’s always bad days and then there’ll be good days and it’s how you take those days, how your mindset is, that (determines) how your day is gonna be. If you put a positive mindset on it, then bad stuff may happen, but you will overcome it.”

Any recommendations for a student considering the Tech Center? “If you have the feeling that you want to come here, I say, come and do it, especially if it’s your first year. Because then after the first year, (if) you find out you don’t like it, you always have a second year to try a different program. It’s eye-opening because you can see how many careers you can have from coming here.”

Recommendations for students in high school: “Just be yourself. Don’t try to fit in, because many people just jump in a new school and then try to fit in and then their academic career is just not that good. I say, try to stand out in a good way and just do you and do your best.”

Read more from Kent ISD: 
The goal: To help people
Loves math, wants to work in medicine with children

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Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma is a reporter covering Kent ISD, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville, Forest Hills and Comstock Park. The salutatorian for the Hartland Public Schools class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism. Joanne moved to the Grand Rapids area in 1989, where she started her journalism career at the Advance Newspapers. She later became the editor for On-the-Town magazine, a local arts and entertainment publication. Her eldest daughter is a nurse, working in Holland, and her youngest attends Oakland University. Both are graduates from Byron Center High School. She is a volunteer for the Van Singel Fine Arts Advisory Board and the Kent District Library. In her free time, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family, checking out local theater and keeping up with all the exchange students they have hosted through the years. Read Joanne's full bio


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