In their first period veterinary medical applications class, Vandegrift High School agriculture students perform a lab in which they learn to administer intermuscular and subcutaneous injections. During this lab, they practice on poultry meat cuts. For the students who decide to continue in veterinary medical studies, they will soon have the opportunity to learn similar skills firsthand through a practicum in veterinary medical applications course.

“So many of these kids want to be veterinarians,” Magan Escamilla, agriculture science teachers at VHS, said. “The Veterinary Medicine Practicum Course gives them the opportunity to explore those career options in high school.”

Last year, the VHS Veterinary Science team competed in the state FFA competition, which Escamilla said is a testament to the level of learning that can be obtained in a basic classroom setting.

VHS students also have the opportunity to take agriculture classes, such as principles and elements of floral design; wildlife, fisheries and ecology management; as well as agriculture mechanics and metal technologies. Next year, an energy and natural resources class will be offered as well.

In her three years at VHS, Escamilla has seen the class average grow from 14 students to 23 students. The program also grew by adding a second teacher, Joe Lemmons, who happens to have been Escamilla’s own high school agriculture teacher. She said their unique background allows them to work well together, complementing each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

While the program continues to grow, Escamilla said she and Lemmons are “constantly learning.” She said they strive to continue their own professional development by improving their classes and making topics up-to-date and relevant.

“Even if they don’t take anything else out of the lesson,” Escamilla said, “I want them to walk away thinking, ‘Wow, that was a really good experience.’”

This feature story was included in the LISD School Spotlight of Vandegrift High School. These School Spotlights will be used to showcase student life and the vibrant culture at every school in Leander ISD – through stories, photos and videos. Check it out!