Life Comes Full Circle for Former Dallas ISD Student, Turned Aviation Teacher

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A former Dallas Independent School District student is back where it all started years ago. Only now, he’s a teacher at one of the district’s new career institutes.

Sometimes life comes full circle. That appears to be the case for Adrian Garcia – the aviation teacher at Dallas ISD’s new Career Institute South.

“I was always interested in aviation as a younger child. I was fortunate enough to go to Skyline High School which has an aviation program there,” said Garcia.

From Skyline High, life took off. Garcia attended college, got a pilot certificate and drone license, and started his own commercial drone business.

“Looking back, when I was in high school, I never thought I would be capable of doing something like that,” he said.

Now he’s back and making sure today’s students know what is possible. He wants his students to explore the numerous possibilities in aviation.

Israel Olivares is in 9th grade at Molina High School and is on the aviation pathway at the Career Institute. He says he wants to become a commercial pilot someday.

“I always liked planes, so I wanted to get more into that,” said Olivares. “Being able to control something so big, it’s scary because it has a lot of responsibility to be flying, you know?”

Garcia is more than a teacher to him. He’s also a mentor. A mentor who says he’s teaching Olivares everything he knows; even as he steps into a classroom simulator to take flight.

“It’s like this big box with realistic control of an actual plane and that are monitors set up that makes it look like you’re looking out of a plane,” said Olivares.

When he looks at his students Garcia is looking in the mirror at himself; a wide-eyed teen wondering if a career in aviation was even possible.

“One of the rewarding things will be to teach these students how to be professional and gain career skills in order to get a job right after high school if they choose to,” he said.

Now that he’s well on his journey, he’s is eager to see his students take off as well.

“It makes me feel great because, like I said, I was just like them growing up and they look at me like they make a connection,” he said.

The Career Institute South offers industry-standard training in eight different career pathways and welcomed its first class of students in 2020.

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