Students Start School Preparing for International Competition

The first day of school Monday was intense for high school students in Garland ISD who are preparing to compete against business professionals in a design competition next month.

Garland ISD is busing high schoolers from across the district to the Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technical Center, so they get hands-on experience with real-world problems

Students study everything hands-on -- from the basics of firefighting and rebuilding motorcycles to designing and building their own spaces.

On Day 1 in an interior design class, students from different backgrounds, and schools sat around the table and came up with a plan to turn a downtown Dallas parking space into something more usable.

It's part of the International Parking Days competition. The students will compete against adults from actual companies across the globe.

"I was thinking chairs, couches, with a patio then of a fire pit wind chimes," student Layne Cook said.

Cook and his team are coming up with a design for old furniture to create a sitting area.

"These are people of different fields that often don't communicate, but we're teaching them to communicate at this level," teacher Kirk Ortley said.

The students have a September deadline to plan and make it happen. It's real world, something Garland is pushing in many of its high schools. Helping all students whether they're headed to college or not, to know they bring something to the table with value.

Aspiring architect Sabryn Philpot took a similar course last year where she designed a greenhouse built at an elementary school.

"This keeps you awake, keep you interested, you running your brain, functioning rather than sitting in a desk and doing paperwork," Philpot said.

The students were a little overwhelmed at the first day's project, but said if this how school gets started, they can't wait to see what's next.

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