Garland ISD's Early College High School Gets More Students College Credit

Esebella Contreres and her classmates are changing the oil in a car at South Garland High School.

"I can be a real technician," said Contreres.

Esebella's mom works in the automotive repair industry and now Contreres is learning how to do the same thing.

It's all part of the Garland Independent School District's Early College High School at South Garland High -- a school that targets students who wouldn't normally consider college and gives them college courses in high school through the district's College for All program.

"This is something that perhaps would not have been possible without starting here in our district and at our campus," said Victoria Sanchez Acevedo, the school's principal.

There are no academic requirements to join the program, just a desire to work hard.

"The ultimate goal for them would be to get those 60 hours and finish with an associate degree," said Acevedo.

The classes are legit. Tim Hahnl teaches college-level automotive at night and is at South Garland during the day.

"The course work we are using, the exact same work," saud Hahnl. "I'm teaching a college course level but with kids that are two years away from possibly getting a driver's license."

The students work on old cars and new, hybrids even, donated by automakers.

"Hyundai and Toyota, these corporations came in and said we need these kids and we are going to catch them early, because when they get out of here they are already employed," said Hahnl.

They especially have their eyes on women interested in the industry, students like Elizabeth Munoz who is well on her way to a degree and already has a part-time job working in an automotive shop.

"Two years ago I had no clue what I was going to be doing with my life," she said.

Munoz and her peers said so much has changed for them, thanks to Garland's program bringing college within reach for all students.

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