Hughes STEM High School’s Zoo Academy students recently had the opportunity to share their experiences with Ohio State Senators Bill Coley and Joe Uecker.
The visits were a part of outreach being conducted by the members of the state legislature to learn more about the various career readiness programs that are available in school districts across the state. Both senators were interested in learning more about the Zoo Academy in Cincinnati.
The timing was also appropriate, as students in Glen Schulte’s class wrote letters to Ohio’s elected officials, specifically about House Bill 47, which addresses public career tech programs.
“This program is so unique,” Senator Uecker told the students. “You still have all your subjects and a traditional classroom, but you also have the opportunity to get out and work with the animals and the botanical garden.”
The Cincinnati Zoo Academy has been a part of the district since 1975. It is a two-year college preparatory program in which students can earn vocational degrees. Nearly 50 students—25 juniors and 25 seniors—take classes at the Harold C. Schott Education Center at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden and work on the zoo grounds.
“I have been with this program for 22 years and have watched it grow from a vocational program designed to train zoo employees to a college preparatory career tech program,” said Schulte, Zoo Academy pathway manager. “I encourage any student with an interest in plants and animals, who is willing to work hard, to consider the program.”
Senator Uecker asked the students what attracted them to the program.
“I saw Fiona on television after she was born,” said one student. “I told my mom that’s what I wanted to do, and we found this program.”
Both senators talked with students about their career aspirations and plans after high school. One student said she wanted to study abroad in New Zealand and Australia.
“Do it,” encouraged Senator Uecker. “You don’t have to wait until you’re older to try new things!”
Keep up with the great things happening at the Zoo Academy.