KISD Career Center leaders awarded 424 students with industry certifications connected to their area of career focus.

In a ceremony similar to a graduation, the students walked across the stage set up at the center of the campus and received certificates as well as purple cords they can wear in their high school graduation ceremony.

“You have gone above and beyond to get these industry awards,” said Scott Herald, chief career and technology officer in Killeen Independent School District. He said students tested up to the day of the ceremony May 28.

“These students are receiving in high school what many people spend four years in college to get,” Herald said.

Superintendent Robert Muller called the Career Center “one of the prides of KISD.”

He reminded the packed audience that planning for the center was underway in 2008 before construction ended in 2011 and the building opened at the start of last school year and is finishing its second year.

“It was designed for this purpose so students could receive specialized training to receive career certification,” Muller said.

While the industry certification credentials can lead to high-paying jobs, the superintendent encouraged students to continue their education beyond high school.

Besides providing specific workplace skills in high-demand career fields, the campus provides “employability skills,” Muller said, noting that students learn to solve problems and work in teams.

He also noted the benefits of House Bill 5, the legislation that added flexibility to graduation requirements, opening the way for more students to consider the career-focused courses.

Alison Belliveau, Killeen ISD CTE coordinator and area president of the Career and Technology Association of Texas, gave one of the group’s two area awards to a Career Center student.

Lance Dugger, set to graduate from Harker Heights High School, won the area award.

He completed the education and training section of the center and was the first in Killeen ISD to win at national competition in that field.

The American Federation of Government Employees gave its award to Naomi Rivera, a cosmetology student and Skills USA member.

The Killeen Evening Rotary Club gave its annual grants to students to assist them in purchasing equipment for their chosen career fields or continued training.

Those awards went to Stephanie Jackson (health science), RaNaisha Ely (cosmetology), Elias Arango (automotive technology), Sydney Serrano (veterinary technician), Tristan Trujillo (welding) and Devaishamon Jiles (construction management).

Carter Blood Care gave awards to students who gave at least two units of blood in drives that netted 204 units.

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