Peoria High Sophomore Finds Unlikely Best Friends at UnityPoint In-School Health Clinic

Sixteen-year-old Kenneth Boclair is about to start driving soon. The Peoria High School sophomore will get his driver’s license in June, which will hopefully make it a little easier to get to his basketball games and band performances, where he plays symbols. College letters are starting to come in, too, and he’s got his eye on the University of Kentucky. Like most high school students, Boclair’s got a lot on his plate. But that’s why his regular visits to the UnityPoint In-School Health Clinic have become such an important part of his life.

The thing is, Boclair isn’t always visiting his In-School Health Clinic just for check-ups. That might’ve been how it started; Boclair says one day the school nurse wasn’t at school, so he was told to go to the In-School Health Clinic instead to get the medication he needed. He noticed the clinic had a water machine, so he started stopping by every day to get a cup of water. Boclair says the clinic staff noticed his visits and told him he could come any time, so he started striking up conversations with them as he enjoyed his daily water break. Those conversations were the start to what Boclair says have become real friendships for him.

“You never come into the clinic and have to worry about being mad at nobody,” says Boclair. “[The in-school health clinic staff] are good, social people. They always want to try make you feel better, try to become your best friends; whatever is on your mind, get it out of your system by having a conversation with you.”

Now Boclair makes regular stops to the In-School Clinic to visit his two favorite people: Sean’ne Gordon, a certified medical assistant, and Rebecca Traiste, an advanced practice nurse. Boclair says the three of them have friendly debates about a wide range of topics, from what age you should start letting kids use technology to topics Boclair learns about in health class. They’re the types of conversations Boclair says the school or nurse or even his teachers are too busy to have with him.

“If I never knew [Gordon or Traiste], I never would have had these debates with nobody else,” says Boclair. “Probably my health teacher, but health teachers are always busy having class. […] When I do go to the school nurse, […] they’ll be like four kids in there, and she’ll have conversations with them, […] so it’s like with the school nurse, she’s just too busy. […] That’s why I’m able to connect with [Gordon and Traiste] other than a nurse.”

Boclair says he’d recommend his peers use the In-School Health Clinic because it’s such a great environment, plus he says he misses less class time because he doesn’t have to travel to and from his doctor’s office to get the same medical care. “I like the clinic because they do the stuff that I usually have to go to the doctor for,” says Boclair. “So now I feel like I don’t really have to go to the doctor unless it’s something only my doctor can do for me. And they don’t have you waiting like the doctor’s office does; they get right to you. So if you do go to the clinic, you get your stuff done ASAP.”

For more information on the In-School Health Clinics or how to enroll your child contact Becca at 309-692-6650 or bmathis@hulthealthy.org