In a world where art, entertainment and communication is increasingly being delivered in a high-tech format, students at the Killeen Independent School District’s Career Center are getting a head start.

Students enrolled in the center’s arts, audio/visual technology and communications cluster have a variety of career paths to choose from and the chance to earn valuable professional certifications necessary to work in their chosen industry.

“The kids that come out of this program can earn professional level certifications, and hands-on experience with the technology being used in the industry today,” said Randy Hudson, who teaches audio/visual production at the center. “They can take what they have learned and go into college ahead of the game, or go out into the workforce prepared.”

In the audio/visual program, students learn how to shoot, edit and produce video for film and television. They also can learn how to produce and record audio such as dialogue, sound effects and music. In order to graduate from the program, students in the A/V program also intern with the district’s television station, KISDTV.

Students in Hudson’s classes have access to state-of-the-art equipment, including a full television production studio, and recording studio, cameras, microphones and industry-level software.

“Once you get comfortable using everything, you’re able to go out and start shooting assignments,” said Rosendo Martinez-Lopez, a senior in Hudson’s advanced audio/visual production class. “I think coming out of high school knowing your way around this stuff is going to be a big advantage.”

Just down the hall from Hudson’s classroom are Alice Taylor’s classes. Taylor instructs students in the cluster’s graphic design and animation. Her students, like Hudson’s, work hands on with industry level software and can earn certifications in Adobe Flash, Adobe Photoshop and others.

“Those certifications can cost between $160 to $200 each if you try and get them on your own,” Taylor said. “These students are really getting an advantage if they want to go off to college or if they decide to go into a career after they graduate.”

In addition to offering programs in more areas like audio/visual production, graphic design and even photography, the center offers students the chance to prepare for a job in a booming industry: video games.

Michael Page teaches the center’s video game design classes. Here students learn how to conceptualize, pitch, design, program and create video games.

“It’s a pretty new area for career education,” Page said. “For high school students, many don’t realize just how much work goes into creating the games they play at home.”

D’Shawn Garcia, a senior in Page’s class, agreed.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize how much work it is until they’re in the class,” he said. “But I think it will be worth it. I’ve always been into video games, and I always wanted to design them.”

No matter what career path the students in the cluster choose, there is a high level of collaboration between all the programs, Hudson said.

“If the animation students need to record music or dialogue, we can have the audio production students do it. If the production students need a logo, then they can go to the graphic design students,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to work with each other and learn to collaborate.”

The KISD Career Center opened to students in August. It features nine career clusters, including information technology, human services, health science, arts A/V technology and communications, agriculture, transportation, architecture and construction, law and manufacturing.

Contact Chris McGuinness at or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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