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Grayson program offers students innovative classes

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

LOGANVILLE -- On Tuesday afternoon, students worked on producing radio commercials, recording voice-overs and creating sound effects for the spots.

In a laboratory down the hall, students tested fecal matter for parasites.

Just a typical day in the Grayson Technical Education Program Building.

"This is not shop. This is not your father's technical education class," said Tim Johnson, the music technology instructor. "This is very high tech. ... It's equivalent to a college-level class."

The Grayson Technical Education Program, housed on the Grayson High School campus, offers more than a dozen innovative courses that use state-of-the-art technology, equipment and facilities.

The music technology lab uses professional music software and technology to introduce students to composing, digital recording and music editing. Johnson said the class is challenging but fun.

"This industry is very competitive. The more experience they get, the better," Johnson said. "This can either springboard them toward the career, or they can think, 'This is a good experience, but I want to go somewhere else.'"

Nicole O'Mara, the veterinary science instructor, said her course prepares students who are interested in studying veterinary medicine or veterinary technology, and students learn about anatomy, genetics, reproduction, digestion and nutrition, health and more.

"I look at it more as hands-on, minds-on learning," O'Mara said. "They're getting to experience this stuff. They learn how to take blood. They learn how to bandage. ... We talk about it, and they experience it. ... It's not just sitting in a classroom and reading a book and getting lectured on it."

The students also learn that veterinary science is not just about dealing with cute puppies and kittens.

"It's not always healthy and happy," she said. "It's blood and guts and gore. It gives them the opportunity to see it before they go to college and really commit themselves to it and (then) realize that's not what they want to do."

Savannah Huston, a student in the digital media design and animation program, said she chose to take a course at Grayson Tech because her high school does not offer a similar program.

"Technical education is something you choose to do rather than are forced to do," she said.

Meghan Shrope-Eady said she enrolled in the course to further her artistic ability.

"This is something you couldn't normally do in regular classes," she said. "You're more involved in computers. You're learning more of what you'll be doing in the real word."

Leslie Bevan, the landscape design and management instructor, said it's a stigma that technical education exists only for students who are not enrolled in college preparatory work. She said her course, which focuses on horticulture and landscaping, gives students industry experience that will help them get a job when they graduate.

"Any kind of career prep we can offer the kids, I think they're going to have a leg up...," she said. "In this economy, we need to do everything we can (to help them)."

Grayson Tech will have an open house at 6:30 p.m. Thursday for interested students and their parents. Courses can be taken by juniors and seniors in Gwinnett County.

For more information, call 770-554-7082.

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