KAYSVILLE -- Coleman Richard's first bite of the day was into a goo-filled dental tray.
"On an empty stomach, that was nasty," the teen said, after pulling the springy new mould off his lower teeth, an assignment for his "Is Dentistry for You?" workshop at Davis Applied Technology College.
"It tastes like Play-Doh, but more gooey," said Coleman, 17 and a student at Morgan High School. "It has the consistency of rubber."
The mini-course is just one offered by DATC as part of its Summer Youth Experience, which allows students in 9th through 12th grade to explore careers. Students pay just $10, and take a short class, usually four mornings or afternoons, to get a sample of jobs that interest them.
"We do a crash course, introducing students to the instruments, and showing them how to suction," said Cathy Turnbow, lead dental assisting instructor at DATC. "They practice on each other, sitting in the chair and rinsing, mixing cements and making impressions, and they carve teeth out of wax. It's very hands on. The only thing they don't do is x-rays."
Courses still ahead include "How to Use Photoshop"; "3D Architectural & Engineering Design"; "Electronics and Robotics Automation"; nursing assistant summer courses; renewable energy; and plumbing. Classes now complete, besides dental assisting, include culinary arts; small engines; and building airplane composite parts. For information, visit www.datc.edu/summer.
Milann Lechuga, 16 and from Salt Lake City, was already sure she had found the right fit.
"I always wanted to do something in dental," said Milann, who this fall will attend Career Path High, a new charter school opening on the DATC campus.
"Ever since I Was little I loved coming to the dentist, which no other kids did. I loved how professional it was. It motivated me, and I wondered if I could do that some day."
Milann said she is looking forward to her next dental visit.
"I've learned about the tools and the instruments. Next time, I will know what they are talking about."
Career Path High allows juniors and seniors to take DATC classes at a reduced cost. Milann hopes to have her dental assisting certificate before she has her high school diploma.
Turnbow said jobs await.
"We have 98 percent placement," she said. "We have dentists waiting in line for our students."
Milann's ultimate goal is to be a dentist.
"You don't see that many female dentists," she said. "That's changing.
"For me, this class confirms I'm on the right path."
Benjamin Stubbs, 15, has not yet chosen a career.
"I'm just trying it out," the Clearfield teen said. "I'm also taking diesel tech, welding and architectural design. Dental assisting is pretty interesting."
Benjamin will also attend Career Path High.
"I will like being on the site where all these classes are taught," he said. "This is how I like to learn, hands on."
And Coleman also was reserving judgement.
"My interest is piqued, but I am also looking at graphic design," he said, peeling bits of rubbery pink cement from his chin. "I learned it is possible to be a dentist. But it's nasty when people don't take care of their teeth, and I was never really good at flossing. But this is a good way to spend a summer. It keeps me sharp."