FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Cadavers and blood samples: not exactly a normal day for Robert G. Cole High School students.

That was the idea as students from Cole's Anatomy and Biology classes spent a whole school day at the Army Medical Department Center & School touring and receiving hands-on instruction from the faculty.

In its second year, "Project ProtAfAgAfA" was the brain-child of Cole science teacher Joe Wyckoff and former Cole counselor Julie Coffey.

"Our objective was to provide students with an interactive experience, delivered by highly trained medical personnel in outstanding facilities," Wyckoff said.

"The full support of AMEDDC&S Commander, Maj. Gen. [Russell] Czerw, and specifically Col. Donna Whittaker, dean, Academy of Health Sciences and Sgt. Maj. Jeffery Lavender, chief enlisted instructor, Med Lab, Pharmacy and Radiology Programs, was instrumental in designing this experience for our students.

"Teaching anatomy is one thing, but actually being able to see and touch a cadaver is a totally different experience," Wyckoff said.

Dr. Eustace Lewis, instructor at the Anatomy and Physiology Branch and FSHISD School Board Vice President shared, "The students were highly engaged during the presentation. They asked good questions and were focused on the learning."

"These students were goal-oriented with many having an interest in either the medical or engineering field," Lewis said.

Students were broken into two groups, depending on which class they were enrolled in, and experienced such things as the actual handling of a cadaver, preparing a mannequin for x-rays, typing blood samples and identifying bacterial infections through a microscope. The students involved were unanimously enthusiastic about the experience.

"Touching the cadaver was a lot more informational than diagrams in a textbook," said senior Nicole Fee. "I am going to study pre-med at the University of the Incarnate Word, and this made me even more excited about getting started."