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Pair of auto tech seniors earn all 10 industry certifications available

Pair of auto tech seniors earn all 10 industry certifications available
Christian Aleman-Rodriguez

Two Career Technical Education (CTE) Automotive Technology seniors graduated from high school with all 10 automotive certifications available through Del Valle ISD’s CTE pathway. 

Mario Gonzales and Adrian Arreguin-Rodriguez spent plenty of time in the auto shop and in the books preparing for the certification exams, which allow them to work in the field. Both students also secured internships with the City of Austin Fleet Services division in high-paying positions. 

“I’m proud of myself. I feel like I'm more confident in knowing what I can do and what skills I have,” Adrian said. “I’m really excited and happy.” 

“I feel good. I feel accomplished and secure,” Mario said about the internship. 

A dozen additional graduates will join them in internships with the City of Austin this summer. Many of the auto tech graduates will also continue their education at Universal Technical Institute. 

“I'm proud of these guys,” CTE teacher Ryan Ragan said. “I’m proud of all of my students that are graduating, and I'm going to miss them. They’ve done a lot of hard work, and it will be different without them for sure.” 

Ryan has been a CTE teacher with Del Valle for 14 years. He’s seen the district grow exponentially throughout that time, and the programs available to students have followed suit. He recalled the changes in the auto tech program over the years.

“When I first started, there were no internships, there were no certifications, and we were fighting over a ratchet. We were fighting over tools because we didn't have enough,” Ragan recalled. “Now, when we order tools and materials, I’m ordering for seven bays. I can fully stock seven bays.” 

Students like Mario and Adrian now have the chance to obtain certifications that will allow them to work in auto shops and secure internships and even jobs through DVISD’s partners, which include the City of Austin, Circuit of the Americas (COTA), BMW, AutoZone, and many others.

In the class, students get hands-on experience in the high school’s auto shop, working on cars for students, staff, administrators, and community members. Ryan says he oversees and guides the students but that they run the shop as if it were their job. They diagnose and repair car issues and also handle the customer service portion to develop soft skills. 

“In our practicum class, we're running a shop, and we're 100% hands-on other than the times that we're doing certification tests, which are obviously in the classroom. But other than that, we're 100% in the shop. It may not be my shop, it may be the Transportation Department, maybe the City of Austin, and COTA,” Ryan said. “I'm wanting them to be more self-sufficient. I want them to talk to the customer.

With a combination of shop and customer service skills, paired with their certifications, Adrian, Mario, and many other graduates are prepared for jobs right after high school that can launch careers or supplements their studies as they continue their education. 

The two students agree that their teacher’s help and care motivated them to push themselves and come out ahead in their classes and practicum. 

“I just think our teachers are really helpful. Like if you're ever falling behind or something like that, it always motivates you to push you to find out what you can do; find out how much you can do,” Adrian said.

“Put it what you want to give out of it,” Mario said. “Work hard, do all your studies, and you should be good.”

Mario Gonzales, Adrian Arreguin earn all 10 auto certifications