Excitement began to build in the hallway at Tyler ISD’s Career and Technology Center as a group of visually impaired students waited outside of a classroom full of dogs.

Tyler ISD and Lighthouse for the Blind teamed up to offer a career exploration event for visually impaired students from across East Texas on Thursday. The CTC offers dozens of career paths that students can choose from, but it was the veterinary technician class, with three wagging tails waiting on the other side of the door, that had the students most excited.

Ann Phillips, the children’s program coordinator for Lighthouse, said this is the fourth year to partner with Tyler ISD for the hands-on tour.

“You can see the excitement, it’s a great experience for them. Some of them are learning about fields they never thought about pursuing,” she said. “Vet tech is one of their favorite. It’s just a really great experience for them, lots of hands on learning.”

Campus ambassadors broke the tours into small groups so every student would get a chance to experience all the CTC has to offer.

“I’m just showing them around our campus and letting them get a feel of what careers we have,” John Tyler senior Lekenya Mass said. “We want them to know they can make a life career out of anything that they choose to do.”

Students worked on an aerodynamics project with engineering students, learned to handle the vet tech class snake, were taught the basics of welding and much more.

Pine Tree High School student Lyric Nolan was blown away by the facility and the opportunity to actually get to try her hand at the activities.

“This experience has been pretty cool. I’ve done career exploration things before, but not one I think like this where I think it caters to kids with vision issues,” Nolan said. “Honestly I’ve never seen anything like this. I go to Pine Tree, but it’s nothing to where you get to go and experience the different choices you can make with your life.”

Lighthouse for the Blind is a nonprofit that works with blind or visually impaired people to help empower them through rehabilitation, education and job training.

For more information, visit TylerLighthouse.org.

Cory is a multimedia journalist and member of the Education Writers Association, Criminal Justice Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has appeared on Crime Watch Daily and Grave Mysteries on Investigation Discovery.

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