Sumner High School’s Veterinary Assisting Program offers a doggy day care to faculty members’ pooches.

Former Sumner teacher Jordan Hernandez’s class went to the dogs … literally. Her students, in the school’s Veterinary Assisting Program, offer a once-a-week doggy day care for faculty members’ canine friends, which provides pampering for the pooches while giving students hands-on experience in animal husbandry, grooming and pet care.

The program started last year and is geared towards students seeking a career working with animals.

“My students were so excited about starting a doggy day care that they were willing to work hard to secure the necessary funding and donations to begin the program,” said Hernandez. “To be able to train using live animals is a bonus.”

The Veterinary Assisting Program, also offered at Lennard, East Bay, Riverview, Strawberry Crest, Brandon, Freedom and Chamberlain High Schools, helps students feel a sense of accomplishment, have a competitive edge upon graduation and become more marketable in their career.

Hernandez, herself a certified veterinary assistant who went through Riverview High’s Veterinary Assisting Program while she was in school, said approximately 10-15 students each year complete all four years of the program and also finish the required 250 experiential hours in a veterinary office. Those students qualify to take the industry certification test through the Florida Veterinary Medical Association (FVMA) to become a certified veterinary assistant (CVA).

Sumner’s Veterinary Assisting Program is just one of a number of elementary, middle and high school programs offered to allow students opportunities to discover, explore and refine their talents and interests while focusing on excellence in academics. Options can be based on location, curriculum, interests or system of learning (either brick-and-mortar or virtual schools).

Programs include a particular theme or focus, such as mathematics, science, technology, communications, international affairs, business, performing arts or industry certifications. Collegiate academies help students earn a high school diploma and a college degree upon graduation. Medical science programs prepare students for medical careers.

“It’s crucial to offer our learners a multitude of dynamic programs that will prepare them for fulfilling careers,” said Superintendent Addison Davis. “The district’s robust magnet and choice program options exemplify our dedication to finding every child’s passion and inspiration in the classroom.”

Parents and legal guardians may choose from a list of choice/magnet schools with space available during the open application window, from October 29 through Saturday, December 11.

For more information about choice schools, visit www.hillsboroughschools.org or call the Student Placement Information Line at 272-4692.

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