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Teens and drugs: Why this time it's a good combination

9:49 PM, Jun 28, 2010   |    comments
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By: Kay Quinn

KSDK -- Teens often get a bad name for wasting away their summer with video games or on the computer.

Here's a look at the flip side: a group of local high schools students putting in eight to 12 hour days at a special kind of summer school.

"I know some of you have sandals on today. That is unacceptable behavior."

Wearing sandals brought some harsh words from the chemistry professor in the opening moments of this 8 a.m. class.

While they could be sleeping late these high school students are spending six weeks taking advanced science, math and chemistry courses. All with the hopes of one day being a pharmacist or working in the healthcare field.

Soon-to-be high school sophomore Darrin Mosely should be at football practice. But he's proud to be one of 45 hand-picked for the BESt program.

"The more knowledge the more power you have so I'll always have the time to play video games but it takes the real man to come right?" says Mosely.

It's run by Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis College of Pharmacy and Express Scripts and targets multi-cultural students in St. Louis City and County and East St. Louis High Schools.

"We give them all of the experience of an actual college student so it's really a good opportunity.

Fatima Ahmed is here 12 hours a day. She's known since 10th grade she wants to be a pharmacist.

"I have friends that are like, I don't know, they're just hopping all over places from an actress to a doctor," says Ahmed. "It's like, I mean you can stay in one field I've recommended this program to a lot of my friends.

She hopes to attend St. Louis College of Pharmacy in the fall.

"I love the professionalism. I love working with people," says Ahmed.

Three years ago organizers of this program traveled to high schools in the area to try to recruit students. This year the program was so popular they were overwhelmed with over 125 applications for just 45 spots.

Mosely says friends wonder why he didn't tell them about the program. Both know they're missing out on some summer relaxation, but say it's worth it.

"Those friends are having fun now but I'll have fun when I'm making all the money in the future," says Ahmed

The first three letters in "BESt" stand for Barnes-Jewish, Express Scripts, and St. Louis College of Pharmacy

And the results speak for themselves. The first graduating class of 14 students are all on their way to careers in medicine: nine in pharmacy school, two pre-med, two in nursing and one in business.

All received scholarships.
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