While many 16-year-olds are thinking about getting their driver’s licenses and passing pre-calculus, one southern Idaho high school student has much larger aspirations. Jared Lott, a junior from Filer, has big dreams of one day becoming a pediatric oncologist.
In addition to his full high school class schedule, Jared is taking college level medical terminology and health occupation classes and works at a local assisted living facility. In the midst of this, he had been fighting a two-year battle with leukemia.
On June 5, 2010, Jared was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In and out of hospitals, Jared missed out on a lot of school, but that didn’t stop him. He began teaching himself the subjects he was missing, even enrolling in a dual credit honors English class through the University of Idaho so he could begin to receive college credits.
In November 2012, healthy enough to return to school, Jared heard an Idaho Department of Labor presentation about the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) youth program. This federally funded program helps youth pay for college credits, achieve their GEDs, and create paid work experiences. He immediately contacted Holly Snapp, a workforce consultant from the Magic Valley office, and shared his education goals.
Holly, who became his case manager, shared her memories of their first meeting saying, “I was immediately captivated by Jared. His drive and motivation were inspiring. He was always engaged, asking questions and wanting to know what more he could do. I felt lucky to be able to work with him and give him even more tools to succeed.”
Over the past year Holly and the WIA program helped Jared stay on track for achieving his goal of getting his associate degree before he graduates high school next spring. In addition, Holly put him in touch with Curry Retirement Estates in Filer where he now works part time as a nurse assistant. Amanda Quigley, a co-worker and nurse at Curry, said “we just absolutely adore Jared. He is an awesome person to work with and all of our residents love him.”
At the end of November 2013, Jared got the word from his doctor that he was in remission and done with his treatment. He can now focus all his attention on being a high school student and some day becoming a doctor.
“My eyes have been opened throughout my treatment to how happy my doctors and nurses made their patients, and it would really mean a lot to me to someday make patients of my own feel that way,” Jared said.
He will continue working closely with the department’s youth services program in the future, and next year as a senior, the program will assist him with earning his CNA certificate. “I want to take part in the CNA program so I can get a head start in the medical field, but also help my parents pay for my college. They have supported me throughout this entire thing and I couldn’t ask for a better family.”
Labor Department staff in the Magic Valley have enjoyed working with Jared. Holly said people like Jared “inspire us and give us hope that they will grow into caring, successful people that will be the next generation of leaders. To know we had a small hand in their success makes it that much more rewarding.”
– Jordyn Neerdaels, workforce consultant
Magic Valley local office