Arcadia High School

Unsung Heroes: Mechelle Avila the enforcer of health

Whenever the students of Arcadia High School (AHS) feel under-the-weather, they can always rely on the health office aide to assist them. Ms. Mechelle Avila has been dedicated to the well-being of the students for nine years out of her 25 years in the medical field.

Students are warmly welcomed by the local high school’s nurse the moment they enter the door. Ms. Avila makes sure that “students that come to the health office are treated without judgement and with compassion in order to make them feel as comfortable as possible during their stay.” Her receptive personality makes the health office a cozy environment.

From coughs to sprains, Ms. Avila is the true hero in the center of the mess; holding out a judgement-free hand, she makes all feel accepted. On days when students are feeling unwell, she’s always happy to take their temperature, give them a place to rest, or simply provide ice to soothe the pain in injured areas.

She assesses the student’s condition by asking specific questions such as the source of the pain as well as possible causes.

AHS sophomore Anusha Silla recalled her experience, “I came to school unaware that I had a burning fever. When I went to Ms. Avila, she greeted me with a welcoming smile and willingly took my temperature to confirm my illness before sending me home.”

Ms. Avila loves all the students that step into in the room and shows it in her work ethic. She maintains an amiable relationship with the students which makes it easier for the students to approach her for any of their health problems. When accidents come up and injuries occur, she’s the first person to step up and help out. She not only shields the students from ailment, but also the staff─by monitoring and sending home students that are sick, it helps keep the teachers, staff, and other students from being affected. While most may not realize, Ms. Avila plays a major role in maintaining a healthy educational environment and saves the trip to the doctor’s office.

School nurses have a tough job of keeping the students comfortable while also making sure they aren’t trying to ditch class.

“When a student comes to the health office, first they are required to bring a health pass which indicates they have relieved permission from their teacher,” she explains her technique for finding out if a student really needs her help, “Next a head-to-toe assessment is completed with a brief health history if necessary… Finally, if it is determined that there is not a need to be in the health office, the student will be sent home or back to class.”

While Ms. Avila’s job is to take care of the students, she contributes and makes a much bigger impact than just simply giving out bandages. As it is uncommon knowledge, school nurses like Ms. Avila are responsible for monitoring the health of students and providing them an environment that is safe, healthy, and comfortable to learn in. They are ones who work with a passion and contribute their best, even when they are not acknowledged for their hard efforts.