The Pennsylvania Department of Education recently connected with 11th grade students at Dauphin County Technical School, who provided insight into how career and technical education has impacted them. Read LeeAnna Watts’s perspective:
Choosing to go to a technical school is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Program days are my favorite days of the week and my program of study has become my family within Dauphin County Technical School. I chose a technical school over my home school because I prefer to learn through hands-on projects. I like it here more than I ever could have liked my home school, and I never would have met my closest friends if I did not make that decision. Dauphin County Technical School has a much better and much tighter community than a non-technical high school because, although we all come from different backgrounds, we are all united under the common goal to gain technical experience.
I was placed in the Veterinary Assistance program and I believe that we are one of the tighter knit communities within the school, although I may be biased. I chose the Veterinary Assistance program because my animals had helped me through middle school and I wanted to learn more about them so I could help them. In freshman year, we went through rotations to help us choose our program. I was interested in a couple of the programs, but when I got to vet, I knew that it was where I was meant to be.
In the Veterinary Assistance program, we are able to take clients so we can work on live dogs to better our education. We learn the proper way to groom these dogs and clean their ears and other such things. The clients are warned that we are only students working on their dogs, but I have never heard a client complain about how their dog looked when they got them back at the end of the day. Aside from grooming the dogs, we also learn how to restrain a dog properly and how to handle a dog should they become aggressive or scared. We have also learned how to bandage different types of wounds, but we used dog mannequins for that. Laboratory skills were also part of our curriculum and are necessary skills in a veterinary practice. We performed tests with many different types of samples and I enjoyed that unit very much. Currently, we are working on pharmacology within a veterinary facility. When I graduate, I can take the NOCTI test to give me an advantage in college and put me a year ahead.
There are many different clubs and activities to participate in within Dauphin County Technical School. Some of the programs automatically enroll you in clubs, such as the Future Farmers of America, that anyone in the Veterinary Assistance Program and Landscaping Development and Design is involved. Other clubs that we can choose to be in are the National Technical Honors Society or Skills USA in which you can compete to earn prizes and scholarships. There is also a fall play and spring musical, and I have had the pleasure of working on both.
I chose to go to a technical school because I wanted to learn a trade so that I could go straight into work out of high school. I know now that in order to achieve the job I want, I will have to attend a college, but I will be able to work as a veterinary assistant through college to help fund my education. Both of my parents and, indeed, most of my family have gone to Dauphin County Technical School and all had enjoyed their experience, which helped influence my decision. I stand by that decision, however, and I do not think I would be the person that I am now had I gone to a regular high school.