Students experience cadaver lab, prepare for future

Select AP Biology students are being chosen to participate in a cutting edge program: a human cadaver dissection lab. The students are hopeful that the lab will prepare them for careers in the medical field.

Mr. Nick Sutherland, AP Biology teacher, is currently asking select students to submit an informal application for the lab, a labor intensive program funded by LeRoy High School.

The lab is “one of the only programs like this in America,” Sutherland said. “The kids get to actually…cut the cadavers, skin the cadavers… cut the chest cavity open, [and] cut the skull cap off.”

While students do not get school credit for the time-intensive lab, the experience in and of itself is enough motivation to participants.

“The kids who end up getting picked…it doesn’t matter to them,” Sutherland said. What “makes them want to do it is… their joy in learning new things and their interest in the human body.”

Normal Community does not offer any classes specific to human anatomy, making the cadaver lab one of the first experiences students have with the human body.

“Anyone thinking about going into the medical field should have this kind of exposure in high school so they know what to expect,” Lindsey Kieser, lab alum and junior nursing student at Illinois State University, said.

The students who are chosen to participate certainly must be dedicated to the course– they commit three and a half hours per week — excluding commute time — to the lab, which takes place on Wednesday and Saturday night for fifteen weeks during the spring semester.

Sutherland has “not picked a few students who would have been really, really good candidates for it just because they have track, or dance, whatever it was.”

Sutherland is only able to choose five or six students a year to participate alongside other area high school students. Among the diverse group are students from Normal Community West High School, Cornerstone Christian Academy, Dee-Mack High School, and the host-school -LeRoy High School.

According to Sutherland, LeRoy High School organizes and pays for the lab, and also makes additional services available to the participants.