Spotlight: Co-Op ~ Jakki Gardner, Vet Assistant

by Caitlyn Ritter, VA junior

“No matter how hard it may seem to achieve, if you want it bad enough,

you will work for it.” - Jakki Gardner VA class of 2019

Co-op brings the opportunity for students to go to work during the time which they would be in school in the area of their vocation they worked so hard to excel at while still receiving an education. Jakki Gardner, a senior in Veterinary Assistance explains her personal co-op experience along with the advantages that the Co-op program brings to the  Lawrence County Career and Technical Center’s students.

As a senior in Veterinary Assistance, Jakki currently works at the Ellwood Animal Hospital/Cranberry Holistic Pet Care/Chippewa Animal Hospital as a Veterinary Assistant.  Her job requires her to keep up with the cleanliness of animals in the care of the clinic, start appointments, assist doctors, along with anything else asked of her as a busy vet assistant. Describing a “typical” day on the job, she states,  “There’s something new to learn, something new to do, plenty of different questions to ask -- every day.”

As a junior from new Wilmington, Jakki came to LCCTC to study Veterinarian Assistant. Growing up surrounded by animals and taking major interest in biological science, she knew working with animals is where she’d be most happy instead of going to a job just for the paycheck.

The aspect Jakki says that she enjoys most about co-op is “It has allowed me to take the lessons learned in shop and expand my knowledge, experience and relations within my career path.”  Because of co-op, when she graduates high school in June of 2019, she will have a little over one year of experience working in her desired field making her a very good candidate for better jobs in the future.

Co-op becomes a bridge from school and shop to work.  “LCCTC showed me the truth about my career” she explains. “I’m graded on more than my attendance or whether I did my homework; I’m graded on work ethic, professional appearance, ability to adapt, and attitude.”

The veterinary assistant teacher, Mrs. Yanak, made the biggest impact on Jakki’s future. Jakki describes Mrs. Yanak as being there for her every step of the way.  “She would explain to me what I did wrong and how I can correct my errors. She never discouraged me, but rather she encouraged me to try and try again until the task was perfected.”  

Jakki hopes to one day become a certified veterinary technician, though she says that plan is not set in stone. “There is always more of a possibility of me becoming a veterinarian, marine biologist, park ranger, wildlife rehabilitation specialist -- wherever I decide to go in life.”  Because of her start at LCCTC, the world is her oyster.

Jakki shares a little advice to others preparing to go on Co-op: “The most important rule I have learned is self discipline. No matter how hard it may seem to achieve something, if you want it bad enough you will work for it. You’re going to be wrong, you’ll have to ask questions, and you’ll learn how to accept constructive criticism. Just trust in yourself and know that down the road, you can look back and be proud of the progress you have made. You have to start somewhere.”

We are proud of Jakki and all she’s accomplished, and it seems that she’s pretty proud of her decision to come to LCCTC to pursue her future career.