(WSVN) – Summer is here and school is out, but at one Miami-Dade high school, the work continues all year long … and the students love it. 7’s Kevin Ozebek shows us why in the latest 7 Spotlight.
The day begins early at Felix Varela Senior High School in The Hammocks.
Kamili Fernandez, vet student: “This barn is shared between dairy goats and horses.”
This barn is actually one of the school’s main classrooms. It’s home to the school’s Veterinary Science Magnet Program, and the vet students are in charge of feeding and treating the animals.
Kamili Fernandez: “I want to be a livestock veterinarian.”
Senior Kamili Fernandez is barn manager.
Kamili Fernandez: “Working with livestock is a completely unique experience that not a lot of students applying to these vet schools will have. Most of them just have dog and cat experience. Very few will have exotic experience.”
Students learn to take care of all kinds of animals.
Camila Pou, vet student: “This is our therapy mini. His name is Skye.”
Camila’s focus is in the equine program.
Camila Pou: “He helps kids that are in hospitals. We go to literacy programs, help kids learn how to read. We teach them about horses.”
The Veterinarian Magnet Program is so popular, there is a wait list to join.
Kenneth just finished his freshman year.
Kenneth Silva, vet student: “I’ve been wanting to come here ever since, like, sixth grade, as soon as I found out about this program.”
Kevin Ozebek: “Really? So, have you always wanted to be a vet?”
Kenneth Silva: “Yes.”
The animals get a lot of attention, and they love people.
Kenneth Silva: “She’s trying to scratch her head. She’s trying to give you a little cuddle.”
Kevin Ozebek: “So she’s trying to cuddle me?”
Kenneth Silva: “Yeah.”
When the students graduate, they will have their CVA, meaning they are certified veterinary assistants.
Their teacher is Yleana Escobar.
Yleana Escobar: “They call me the crazy teacher, the passionate teacher, the one that’s going to push. You’re asking me to give you experiences with animals, and I will.”
The school also teaches students how to train animals.
Kearstyn Montero, vet student: “Come on. Up the ramp you go. Good girl!”
They work with local rescues and take in abandoned dogs like Cedar and Hope.
Hope’s back legs are damaged, but she’s sweet-natured, so she’s going to become a therapy dog.
Kearstyn Montero: “We have a special ed unit, so we’re going to have her do visits and comfort the kids whenever they need her.”
Cedar arrived here when he was just 6 weeks old. He was found abandoned along the side of the road, but the students here have spent a lot of hard work training him, and he has now been adopted by Miami-Dade Schools Police. He is going to be their new therapy dog.
Kearstyn Montero: “We make sure that these dogs become compassionate dogs and make them happy, loving dogs.”
Whether it’s four-legged or feathered friends, Varela’s vet program is a year-round commitment, so while most kids enjoy summer vacation, these students come every day to pursue their passion for creatures of all shapes and sizes.
Kevin Ozebek, 7News.
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