CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Did you know that Roy Miller High School has an automotive garage?
Corpus Christi Independent School District offers career technical education to students in each of its six high schools, and at Miller, students learn how to repair and refinish automobiles, and service various types of vehicles.
Mike Grosz has been in the automotive business for over 40 years and teaches the class. He said the equipment students use is state-of-the-art.
The program got two new lifts last year, and it also has a new alignment machine, a new tire machine, and a balance machine.
“This is the same equipment that they’ll have in the state-of-the-art shop," Grosz said. "Kids get to see what it’s like in the real world. We have the actual equipment that they’re gonna be doing hands-on."
Grosz said last year, students worked on a lot of the staff's vehicles.
“A lot of 'check engine' lights," he said. "We got some nice diagnostic equipment we use. Alignments, brakes — we worked on cars, trucks, you know, whatever we can get in here is what we work on.”
Students are even able to work on their vehicles, something D’Anthony Lopez was able to take advantage of.
“The tire machine, learning how to do that helped a lot," Lopez said. "Putting new tires on my own car so that I could safely drive it home. Learning how to use the machines that’s another big thing. Cause in the future as someone who wants to be a mechanic, it’s helpful to learn these things at a young age."
Grosz said the class consists of book work, but the class is more hands-on.
“It’s book work and then you come out and actually do what you looked at in the book. You’re gonna actually come out to the shop and perform those tasks,” said Grosz.
Students can work to receive national certified from the ASE — the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence — which is the gold standard in the automotive-repair industry.
“There are eight tests in total," Grosz said. "So, if you pass all tests, you become a master ASE technician. It’s probably very feasible to do that if you’re in a four-year program."
Grosz said since the certifications are nationally recognized, they never expire. A technician does have to renew their certifications about every five years, but Grosz said having one is a big feather in a student’s cap.
“Whether it be welding, automotive, auto body — there’s such a demand for the skills," Grosz said. "The industry is having a hard time finding technicians or welders, and it’s just a great program. If you have some training and your ASE certification, you could probably go to any shop in the country and get a job."
Lopez said, at first, it was a lot to take in because he started fresh out of middle school. He said he started off learning about small engines and jumped into Auto Tech I.
Eventually, he started working on bigger vehicles, and that’s when he said he was able to have some fun and get his hands dirty.
“I don’t want to just be the mechanic," Lopez said. "I want to be the guy running everything. I very much recommend it. Even if you are not looking to get into the automotive business, it’s very helpful to know how to do this stuff yourself. Then you have the sense of self-accomplishment afterward."
If you’d like more information on the Automotive Program at Roy Miller High School click here.