What did you do on your spring vacation?

For 35 students at Bristol County Agricultural High School who participated in the Disney Y.E.S. Program in Disney World in Orlando two weeks ago, it was an unforgettable experience that they’ll always cherish and one that will inspire the students to perhaps shape their future path as they move on with their lives.

The juniors and seniors, accompanied by five adult chaperones and Leslie Blanchette, Animal Science Department Chair at Bristol Aggie, says that the objective of the two-part Disney Y.E.S. (Youth Education Series) Program is to allow students to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the protection and preservation of wildlife and marine mammals.

She adds that the Aggie students had an opportunity to examine the role that zoos and aquariums are playing in education and how zoos affect both the lives of the animals in their care and their wild counterparts.

During the program, a part of which was entitled “Keepers of the Kingdom at Disney’s Animal Kingdom,” the students learned how perilously close many animal species are to extinction and about the role that Disney’s Animal Theme Park animals play as ambassadors for their species.

The students also visited the Animal Nutrition Center where they observed the animal commissary and discussed the importance of good nutrition for all animals, and how science and research have brought about significant changes in animal management in the past few decades.

Blanchette noted that the during their exploration, the Aggie students were intrigued as they learned about animal enrichment and more about the care of elephants, giraffes and dogs cared in the kennels at the theme park.

The educator added throughout the program, students discussed and were exposed to a variety of career options found in zoological centers, including training, education, animal husbandry and nutrition.

According to Blanchette, the busy travelers also participated in a program entitled “Making Waves with a Marine Career” at Epcot Center. This part of the program offered the students an opportunity to become aware and gain knowledge of career opportunities in the marine science field, while showcasing skills needed for a career in the marine profession.

Blanchette also noted that many of the students interested to learn about veterinary internship and externships and opportunities that exist with the Disney Company.

“The kids all had a great time,” said Blanchette, noting that it was the fourth time that Bristol Aggie sponsored the trip, which was parent funded together with a few fundraisers.

“It broadened our students’ horizons,” she said, adding that that many of the students had never been outside of New England or on an airplane.

Rehoboth resident, Noah Carello, who plans to attend the University of Massachusetts-Amherst next year, where he plans enter the pre-veterinary program, was amazed by the size of the Orlando facility.

“I thought it was a great opportunity to see how such a large institution works,” he said, adding that the theme park employs about 250 members of its animal staff. He shares that the Y.E.S. Program afforded him an opportunity visit parts of the park not seen by visitors, such as veterinary hospitals and kitchens where the animals’ meals were prepared.

“There was so much more to see,” Corello said, noting that the trip inspired him to pursue his dream to become a veterinarian.

Sophia Hart of Somerset, who plans to attend Bristol Community College in Fall River, said that the trip presented her with “in-depth look” at the animal-care industry. She emphasizes that she was “very encouraged” by conservation efforts that she observed at the Orland theme park.

Harts adds that one day she hopes to become a Disney intern.

Payton Patota, a junior from Swansea, shared that she also learned a great deal from the trip.

“It was an incredible experience to go behind the scenes of both Epcot and the Animal Kingdom,” she said. “It was interesting to learn about different career opportunities and about different aspects of veterinary medicine.”

Patota adds that she was very interested in conservation efforts being made at Disney to raise young tigers that will be someday released in Indonesia in an effort increase the tiger population in the country.

“Our students are so fortunate to have had this opportunity to observe a variety of diverse, animal-science professions on a grand-scale such as the Disney Y.E.S. Program,” said Adele G. Sands, school superintendent. “This really opens their eyes to the professional pathways available to them, on a global level.”