Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School

About Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience HS

Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School is a small specialty school located in Vancouver, Washington. HeLa High, as it is better known as was built in 2012 and opened its doors to students in the Fall of 2013. Henrietta Lacks was built to meet the needs of the Vancouver area by educating students to become college and career ready in the fields of health and biosciences. Henrietta Lacks is home to approximately 600 9-12th graders in the Evergreen School District. Students apply to come to HeLa to pursue a specialty high school education. There are five programs of study students can take: Biotechnology, Biomedical Engineering, Public Health, Nursing/Patient services and Pharmacy. With an average graduation rate of 97%, students at HeLa High School are prepared and ready to go on to the college or career of their choosing.

Who can attend Henrietta Lacks?

Students of Evergreen School district have first choice for the openings at Henrietta Lacks. A lottery is conducted for our incoming Freshman class for the 170 open spots each year. Students who are Sophomores through Seniors may apply and applications are evaluated on yearly analysis of our openings. Out of district students also can attend when open spots are available. See the Admissions page for more information

The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks

The immortal Henrietta Pleasant was born on August 1, 1920 in Roanoke, Virginia. After the death of her mother, she moved to Clover, Virginia to live with her paternal grandfather. She married David “Day” Lacks in 1941, and the couple had 5 children. They moved to 713 New Pittsburg Avenue in Turner Station, Maryland in search of economic security in the booming factory of Bethlehem Steel. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks went to Johns Hopkins Hospital for treatment for an unknown illness—she had discovered “a knot” in her abdomen (Rebecca Skloot 14). After several hospital visits, she died of cervical cancer on October 4, 1951 at the age of 31 years.

According to Rebecca Skloot, two days after her death, a lab attendant discovered that the HeLa cells (named for the first two letters of her first and last names) were growing. Led by Dr. George Gey, this marked the first instance of growth of human cells outside the body. The HeLa cells would go on to transform modern medicine. One of the more immediate results was the development of the Polio vaccine. To date, the “Easy-to-grow ‘HeLa’ cells have been used in more than 76,000 studies” (“Privacy Pact” 61).

Yet, it took some twenty-five years before the Lacks family received any knowledge of the immortal contribution their beloved wife and mother was making. According to Rebecca Skloot, David Lacks, Sr., received a call from a Dr. Susan Hsu, a researcher who informed him that a scientific team at the Johns Hopkins had been doing research on her cells for the last 25 years. To date, the Lacks family has received no compensation for the contribution their mother, grandmother, and great grandmother made to modern medicine. The Henrietta Lacks story raises ethical, racial, and socio-economic issues related to the medical industrial complex

Evergreen School District is committed to honoring the Legacy of Henrietta Lacks and is proud to be the first public institution named after her in 2013. The Evergreen School Board and a group of students chose the name Henrietta Lacks after a student on the committee had read the book, 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' and was struck by the powerful nature the story of Henrietta and its implications for Science and Ethics. HeLa continues to honor Henrietta and live her story by educating all students at HeLa of her story, reading the text and studying the historical impact that she and her cells have had on our world.

Is Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School right for you?

Are you interested in Science and Math?

Do you want a small school setting?

Do the Programs of Study interest you?

Henrietta Lacks offers education that is targeted on Health and Biosciences. All students will take classes that : Medical Science, Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry, Biology. Students take the programs of study their Junior and Senior years. Programs of study are in-demand programs that prepare students to continue on in the fields of science and healthcare: Biotechnology, Biomedical Engineering, Nursing and Patient Care, Public Health and Pharmacy. Go to the Program of Study pages for more information.

Students working on a SIM in Nursing and Patient Care




Contact information:

Principal: Julie Tumelty

Associate Principal: Kate DeWein

Address: 9105 NE 9th St., Vancouver, WA, 98664

Phone: (360) 604-6340


Rise Above

"Rise Above"

Created by student Mark Vasilyuk & Transition Coach Justin St. Pierre


Vision:

We are a school of excellence for students passionate about exploring health and bioscience in a collaborative environment.

Mission:

Through a rigorous interdisciplinary education, Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School prepares curious, confident, critical thinkers eager to contribute to science in the global community