News: KISD opens new career center, students' future
Story by Staff Sgt. David House
KILLEEN, Texas - The start of a new school year means new books, new pencils and for some, an entire new school building. Leadership from the partnered unit 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, military families from Fort Hood and members from the local community all came together to celebrate the new Killeen Independent School District Career Center building dedication, Aug. 26.
The state of the art two story building, which features more than 160,000 square feet, was completed after a year of construction and 12 years of planning and development. Students are afforded the opportunity to focus on eight career paths that will give them valuable skills to either earn an industry standard certification as they continue on to college, directly enter the workforce after graduation, or both.
“Reading, writing and arithmetic, all to the tune of a hickory stick,” said Representative Jimmie Don Aycock, District 54 of the Texas House of Representatives. “This isn’t that school.
“It is very different from what many of us grew up with. This one of the most advanced, prestigious and exciting facilities in the state of Texas,” said Aycock.
That motto may no longer be in use these days but it does help to emphasize the change in educational doctrine. A doctrine that is driven not only by the desires of the students but reflects the current and future workplace needs.
“We are door openers,” said Marvin Rainwater, Career Center executive director. “We try to get the students involved in post secondary education; with that being defined as anything that occurs after high school, not just your traditional college. That might be on-the-job training, workplace certification or military training. We want the students to be ready and successful.”
The center is available to any high school student within the KISD and currently offers programs in arts, agriculture, health science, information technology, architecture, automotive, manufacturing and cosmetology with more planned for future growth.
“A student just needs to go see their high school counselor to sign up for a program that they show interest in,” said Alison Belliveau, KISD career and technical education coordinator. “The school differs not only from the typical high school class but also gives the student a taste of a college and a workplace environment. All of which will give the student a leg up when they graduate and move on.”
The new building also marks the one year anniversary of the schools partnership with the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade. The brigade "adopted" the school last year and has put in more than 75 hours of volunteer work in assisting the students with various classes.
“This past year we have sent over some of our medics to work with the students in the health science cluster,” Lt. Col. Joshua Potter, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion commander. “They taught them everything from CPR, basic first aid, everything that was Red Cross certified as assistant instructors. The primary instructors of course came from KISD but our young medics who are about the same age group as the students were able to give them not only medical skills but also life skills and tell them what it is like to be a soldier here in central Texas."
The brigade will continue the training partnership by sending soldiers over to the Career Center to share some of their time and knowledge with both sides of the desk ultimately benefiting throughout the school year and beyond.