Thursday, January 31, 2008

10-Year-Old Homeschooler Courtney Oliver Becomes a Certified Veterinary Assistant

The following story appeared on the Associated Content The People's Media Company. When I first saw the story about Courtney Oliver on another website there was no mention of whether or not she was homeschooled, I just knew for sure she had to be homeschooled. I finally found an article stating that she was indeed homeschooled.

10-Year-Old Courtney Oliver Becomes a Certified Veterinary Assistant

By Steven Bryan, published Jan 31, 2008

Though her parents still see her as a normal kid, many people consider Courtney Oliver to be a child prodigy, much like composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and actress Ally Sheedy, who wrote her first novel, "She Was Nice to Mice," at age 12.

Oliver, 10, completed an online course and now is certified as a veterinary assistant. "In the beginning, she was really itching to get started, to be learning and active, so this is the first step in the veterinary world," said Candy Oliver, Courtney's mother, via telephone from Olympia, Washington.

"You sign up online; they mail you all your books. You do your course studies; for one called 'Field Practices,' she had to go into our Vet when she was working on sterile gloving and gowning and practice those at the Vet. Once those (the course studies) were done, she had to take tests online and those were graded."

"She's Very Forward in What She Wants"

Oliver said that Courtney, who is homeschooled, tests at a post-high school level in most areas. "She had been bothering the Vet since she was about 7 about when she could come in and start volunteering there and they told her when she was 12 because in Washington State, that's the age you have to be to volunteer without a parent present," Oliver said.

The Oliver family breeds Boston Terriers and whenever the family would bring in one of their animals, Courtney would keep asking if she could come in and volunteer. Eventually, after a few years, Candy Oliver said that Courtney wore them down. "It was time for one of our girls, Ivy, to have a C-section, so they invited her to come watch that and they were looking back to gauge to see if Courtney could handle the blood," Oliver said.

"That only fueled the fire for her to work there and be active with her animals. So they said she could come, but I have to be there with her because she's not even old enough to volunteer on her own."

Don't Call Her "Doogie"

Comparisons between Courtney Oliver and Doogie Howser, Neil Patrick Harris's teenage doctor character, are inevitable, but when this was mentioned to Courtney, she didn't know who Doogie Howser was. "My husband and I giggled at that. At first, she thought it was an insult," Oliver said.

Courtney Oliver has the desire, talent and the knowledge, so it's only her age that holds her back. "She's learned how to run and operate an X-ray machine in her course studies, but she can't touch an X-ray machine until she's 18. A regular vet assistant doesn't do clamping or anything in a surgery, but on our animals, because we give permission, she's allowed to help when we have a C-section." Oliver said.

"She got to scrub in on two C-sections last weekend. She got to clamp cords and cut cords and put the babies in a towel and hand them to other people."

Waiting Until her Age catches up with her Desire.

Courtney has to wait until she's about 15 or 16 to begin her undergraduate work, but Dr. Michelle Shoemaker, her mentor at the South Bay Veterinary Hospital, said she'd keep her busy until then.

"It's really neat to see Dr. Shoemaker helping Courtney so much. Courtney wants to do everything and touch everything and help with everything. I try to gauge it and make sure we are keeping her as active as she can be. She's still too young to join the Veterinary Sciences 4-H group. It's just keeping her busy until she's old enough to move on to the next step," Candy Oliver said.

In February, Courtney will start canine massage therapy. "She's going to become a certified canine massage therapist, which will help her learn more about muscle and bone structure," Oliver said. "After that, she wants to do Vet-Tech training, which is the next level. The only snag in that is we are having trouble finding a college that will accept her at her age."

Go to Associated Content The People's Media Company for more information and a picture of Courtney Oliver.

No comments: