Navy presents Hammond-Oliver seniors with scrubs after enlistment in elite program

A Navy officer presented seniors Heather Constestabile and Nick Defoy with scrubs during a ceremony earlier this year. They have both enlisted in the Navy and been chosen to be hospital corpsman, which allows them to help injured or ill members of the military.

“Being presented with my scrubs was a little bit of a surprise,” Heather said. “It was breathtaking, like it’s actually real and I’m going into the Navy to be a medic.”

Hammond-Oliver teacher Hillary Love supports her students going into the Navy and is excited to see where this path takes them.

“It makes me feel proud that Heather’s my student and that she has chosen to serve our country,” Love said. “Military service is an honorable choice, to be willing to go out and become a member of the US Navy.”

Both Nick and Heather have been interested in the health field since early in their education and are happy to begin reaching some of their goals.

“I have wanted to go into the medical field since I was in middle school,” Nick said. “As I’ve continued in school, I kept feeling like I should go into the health field.”

Helping people is a big deal for Nick and Heather, and the medical field is the way they have chosen to give back.

“I like helping people,” Heather said. “I like giving back and the medical portion appealed to me about Hammond-Oliver.”

Hospital corpsman is a prestigious position within the Navy and demonstrates the skills and diligence of Nick and Heather to both earn that recognition.

“I know Heather’s going to do excellent, and she and Nick both got positions that are very difficult to get,” Love said. “The recruiter told me that those positions often don’t even make it down to the MEPs (military entrance processing), they get snatched up early on, so for these positions to make it down there and for two students from the same program to actually make it into those positions, is quite an honor.”

Nick recognizes the expenses associated with becoming a doctor and has decided to enlist in the Navy to help offset the cost as well as give him experience.

“I have enlisted in the Navy to get help with college,” Nick said. “In the Navy, I will be a hospital corpsman which will also help me build the skills I need to become a doctor and I want to be a pediatrician because I really like kids.”

For Heather, the Navy has too many benefits to ignore.

“The Navy will give me the opportunity to travel the world,” Heather said. “With that I’ll be doing what I love and be able to go to school for free.”

Nick decided to do the Hammond Oliver program during middle school while exploring options that would help him enter the medical field.

“I heard a lot of good things about Hammond Oliver,” Nick said. “I knew that it would help me get at least the basics for medical school. Through the program we learn a lot of hands-on things like taking blood pressure and how to take vitals.”

Hammond Oliver teacher Laura King believes that Hammond Oliver is a gateway for students to prepare for future jobs.

“Our main goal is to help students find what they want to do after graduation,” King said. “That may be anything from going right into the workforce with one of the certifications that we offer or using that as a springboard to college and finding a higher level of healthcare degree either one of those is what our main goal is.”

King is excited as well as proud of Nick. She believes that he will move on to do great things, and knows that he will be Dr. Defoy one day.

“Nick has always been very inquisitive and wanting to learn more,” King said. “In the last few years what I’ve really enjoyed seeing is that he has a focus and a goal, and he always ties everything back to that goal.”

Hammond Oliver teacher Billie Mutz has great confidence in Nick’s future and hopes all students benefit from what the program has to offer.

“Nick has a deeper understanding of what we’re talking about in class and he can use that knowledge to apply it in everyday life,” Mutz said. “I hope Nick and all the students can take what they’re learning and use it in everyday life, whether they have kids at home or go into the medical field.”

Heather’s teachers see her as an amazing student, and that has shown through in both her hard work and her determination.

“Heather always engages well with the other students,” Love said. “She works very well with the other students and I think she’s a very good team player, and that’s going to carry over for her well in the military.”