Published on April 17th, 2019 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


School District Five students engage in hands-on learning with animals at The Center

IRMO – Lexington-Richland School District Five students participating in the Center for Advanced Technical Studies’ (The Center) veterinary science program are receiving some invaluable, hands-on learning experiences with animals.

Students in the program are exposed to cows, chickens, pigs, horses, guinea pigs, bearded dragons, dogs and the class favorite, baby goats. Jessica Hidalgo, veterinary science teacher at The Center said the programs are designed to give students as much experience as possible in the different animal fields.

“The veterinary science program encompasses a wide variety of topics. Our goal is that when students move on to the college level or career level that they have had enough experience with a wide variety of species so that they are going to be competent and successful,” said Hidalgo.

Students start off in an agriculture science class where they focus on the purpose of agriculture in our society. They then move on to an animal science class where they primarily focus on livestock. Next, students attend the equine science class which is a course strictly focused on horses and horse management. Students then take the small animal care class, which includes grooming and handling of dogs, cats and other exotic animals. In the third year of the program, students move on to an introductory to veterinary science class where students focus on the skills they would need to work in a veterinary clinic or in another aspect of animal science.

Veterinary science student Jordyn Henry-Jeter thinks the hands-on experience is invaluable since she wants to be a veterinarian one day.

“It just teaches you skills for life,” said Henry-Jeter. “I want to be a vet and I can imagine being a livestock vet. That would be really fun and interacting with the goats and having this experience really helps you learn about real life.”

Fellow veterinary science student Logan Griggs said the hands-on programs at The Center are setting her and her classmates up for success upon graduating high school.

“I think it’s important to further our career later in life. It’s going to give you more experience when you get to college, especially vet school. We’ve already learned handling and restraint techniques, which is one of the first things you learn your first year in vet school. We get hands-on experience with the horses, goats, and especially dogs with grooming. If you want to apprentice as a groomer you’ve already got experience. I think it’s just really important getting hands-on,” said Griggs.

Animal science teacher John Asbill has been teaching at The Center for six years now and said getting up close to the animals not only teaches the students real world knowledge, but life skills as well.

Asbill said, “If you’re in a classroom setting you may go over deworming or giving injections, but the students learn more when it’s actually time to do it and an animal has that. It’s a really great experience if this is what the students are passionate about. They learn hard work, responsibility, trust and other skills that put them ahead if the animal science industry or vet science is what they are hoping as a future career.”

Hidalgo added the learning process becomes more realistic and authentic when the students get the hands-on experiences with the animals.

“There’s no better way to learn, then through actually performing a skill and applying knowledge with an actual animal,” Hidalgo said. “Animals have their own behaviors, they have their own personalities and their own thoughts. I can show a student on a stuffed animal or in a video how to do something, but until they actually practice that skill on a live animal, they will never truly have that skill. It moves the education from strictly being conceptual to actually being realistic, practical and authentic.”

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