Forest Hills medical volunteer group takes top prize in New Jersey competition

Photo: Jacob Kaye/QNS

A team of Forest Hills teens can save a life and win some trophies at the same time.

The Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps took home several awards at the Keyport First Aid Cadet Competition in New Jersey this weekend. One of the corps’ teams finished first in the basic skills competition, which involves CPR, splinting and taking vital signs. Another team finished third.

“Last year, we only placed second,” said Rohan Mohotra, a co-captain of the youth corps team. “So, we were very happy that we got first and third this year.”

While the skills the Forest Hills high schoolers learned with the Volunteer Ambulance Corps have served them well during competitions, they all agree, the team is setting them up for successful careers.  

Boyuan Zhang is the youth corps’ second lieutenant and studying to become a certified emergency medical technician.

“I had my test yesterday and I remembered some answers from working with my team,” Zhang said.

Several members of the team hope to have careers in medicine, they say, and although some of the members with the highest ranks are heading off to college this fall, they plan on staying involved.

The group’s co-captain, Magdalena Mazur, will attend The Macaulay Honors College in the fall but plans to continue to volunteer with the team.

“They’re going to benefit me,” said Ricky Nandkumar, the Youth Chairman who, among other things, coaches the team. “They are going to be EMTs and assist the class.”

Nandkumar was once in his students’ shoes. He enjoyed it so much, he stayed to pass on the knowledge teens like Mazur, Zhang and Mohotra.

And his team appreciates him.

“We have to give a lot of credit to our advisors,” Zhang said.

The camaraderie is clear and an important aspect of the job, they say.

“If you don’t like each other, it doesn’t matter,” Mazur said. “You have to save someone’s life. You have to work together.”

The Forest Hills group appears to have that part down.

Sara Diaz, the secretary of the youth corps, summed it up.

“We’re building friendships that will last forever.”

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