Feb. 27, 2023 - For more than 20 years, Comal ISD has offered automotive technology classes at Canyon High School, and now, those classes are part of the district’s successful Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.
Part of the transportation, distribution and logistics CTE state cluster, automotive technology classes teach students how to repair and refinish vehicles as well as service them. They also learn how to perform maintenance procedures such as lubrication, oil changes, installation of antifreeze and replacement of accessories like wiper blades and tires.
“This program has taught me everything I need to know in terms of being book-smart,” says Christopher Reyes, a CHS senior, “and then the shop has taught me hands-on how to actually work with things and be a mechanic.”
Students like Reyes are able to earn 10 industry-based certifications through the automotive program at CHS. He has earned certifications in brakes, steering suspension, maintenance light repair and electrical, and he plans to attend Universal Technical Institute (UTI) when he graduates from high school, using a scholarship he received through his classes at CHS.
“This is a very hands-on program,” says Michael Newkirk, the automotive teacher at CHS. “One out of maybe 10 school districts have an automotive program. We offer a four-year program which starts with principles of transportation and auto basics followed by auto I and auto II.
“Most weeks, we spend Monday and Tuesday with in-class curriculum, and the rest of the week, we’re out in the shop where they get the hands-on portion of the class, the lab work.”
Annually, under his guidance, students win awards for their automotive knowledge and skills along with internships with local businesses and scholarships to technical colleges and universities.
Newkirk hosts a signing day for his students in April or May to celebrate their accomplishments.
As with other CTE programs at Comal ISD, the automotive program is always looking for community businesses to partner with in order to give students the real-world experience they need. Businesses interested in a partnership, should contact Renee Martinez, director of CTE and career readiness at Comal ISD, at [email protected].
-Students in the CTE automotive program at Canyon High School gain hands-on experience in the shop.
-Students in the CTE automotive program at Canyon High work under a vehicle’s body in automotive classes.