Cleo Bay Honda donates car to KISD Career Center

Ken Brown, right, fixed operations manager at Cleo Bay Honda hands over the deed to a 1998 Chevrolet Malibu to KISD Career Center auto mechanics teachers Lee Williams, left and Jason Collar. Students in the KISD auto mechanics classes will use the vehicle in learning the mechanics trade.

KISD/TODD MARTIN

The four-door maroon sedan might or might not get you where you need to go, but it’s perfect for 115 auto mechanics students.

Cleo Bay Honda fixed operations manager Ken Brown handed over the deed to a 1998 Chevrolet Malibu in May to two teachers from the Killeen ISD Career Center.

Teachers Jason Collar and Lee Williams said the Chevy would get many makeovers in the shop at the school district’s Career Center.

The teachers will use the vehicle, which does run, as classroom demonstration and allow students to disassemble and reassemble parts.

They also will plant mechanical problems and direct students to diagnose the issues.

“We’ll use it bumper-to-bumper,” said Collar, happy as a teenager receiving his first set of wheels. “We’ll tear into it.”

In the recently completed school year, the Career Center offered auto mechanics and advanced auto mechanics for 115 students.

Even more students are scheduled to take the courses in the fall.

Eventually the program will add a third-year internship, placing students in shops to get field experience.

For Brown, who serves on the Career Center advisory board, the decision to donate a vehicle was an easy one.

“I love it,” he said of the Career Center, which is finishing its first year in operation offering a variety of career-focused programs from cosmetology to graphic arts, health care, welding and much more.

While many have long assumed that smart kids go to college, Brown said he knows there are plenty of smart young people who like to work on cars.

Qualified technicians are difficult to find and the operations manager said students emerging from KISD’s program after three years will be ready to go to work.

“Not everyone wants to go to college,” he said, pointing out a good mechanic can make $100,000 a year. “It’s a good living and you can find a job.”

Williams and Collar were similarly impressed with Brown and his commitment to auto mechanics education.

“His input alone is important,” said Williams, praising Brown’s support of the program before the new school building was even off the ground.

“We can’t do this without community support,” Collar said. “Ken has been good to us.”

The training students receive in the KISD auto mechanics program gives them a huge advantage when they attempt to pass the Automotive Service Excellence certification, the teachers pointed out.

 

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