DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Austin High School health science teacher Heather Tucker is leading her students down a path to a profession in the medical field.
They are classes which students normally would not take until college, but are being offered to younger and younger classes.
"Students are starting at younger ages to consider what they want to do in the future," Tucker said, "but there are so many options in the healthcare field, that this is just a great opportunity to explore those options and see what opportunities would be available for them in the future."
She says these students get the basics for a job in the health care industry.
"Some hands-on patient care, blood pressure, vital signs, things like that," she listed. "They also learn a lot of medical terminology, which really helps them in any medical career they choose to do in the future.We practice interviews and do job applications."
Tucker says she wants her students to begin college with an "end goal" in mind.
Senior Carley Lindsey plans to attend Northwest Shoals, then UNA. She wants to be a neonatal nurse.
"I was a premature baby," she told us, "and I had neonatal nurses who saved me, so I feel like I should give back."
Senior Mariah Campbell wants to be a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, who assists the Anesthesiologist.
"I've had surgery on both my knees and my anesthesiologist... he was like a big role in it," Campbell said. "I met the CRNA and I was like, 'Wow, I didn't even know that that was a thing.'"
Students like Mariah credit these classes to help them reach their goals.
"I think If I wouldn't have had this class, to really open my eyes to the medical field, that I don't even know what I would want to do right now," she said.
There is also a wall of fame in these classes. Several photographs of former students who attended Austin High School and now make their living in the medical profession are on display.