U of I white coat recipients jumpstart education

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Fifty-five students have embarked on their medical school journey.

The University of Illinois College of Medicine-Rockford hosted its White Coat Ceremony, doling out gear that students will sport for the next four years.

The ceremony kicks off the students' medical career by formally introducing them into the field of medicine. They will wear the white coats during their clinical experiences.

Harlem High School graduate Alec Sikarin is a white coat recipient looking forward to putting his knowledge to work in the community where he grew up.

"I sort of learned more about the benefits of being in Rockford, the small class sizes and the community interaction and that's something that really drew me to this school," Sikarin said. "I really liked being able to work in a community that I grew up in and being able to come back and give back is something that I'm really excited about."

Classes begin this week for the new students.