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By Billy Rudolph

In 2013, the Beltran family moved to Galveston from California. Roy was a sophomore at Ball High School and his younger brother Raul would become a freshman the next year. Now the brothers are gainfully employed as mechanics with Galveston ISD and they owe their success directly to the experience they had in the same school district they now work for. 

“I wasn’t really a book student. I was a hands-on learner so having the opportunity to get experience while at school was something that I loved,” says Roy, who graduated from Ball High School in 2016. “I used to take my Hot Wheels apart and put them back together when I was little and now I’m doing it on real cars.”

Roy was able to take automotive technologies as a Career & Technical Education (CTE) pathway at Ball High, where he earned four Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications. Through dual-credit classes at Galveston College he then got training and certifications to work on diesel engines, forklifts, automotive air conditioning and even earned his Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). 

His younger brother Raul took notice. “I saw that he was doing good and I just wanted to follow in his footsteps,” recalls Raul, who graduated from Ball High School in 2018. “At home he would be working on cars and I would just start helping him little by little. I would keep asking him to teach me more.”

And now Raul has the same training and certifications as Roy and the brothers are working on cars, trucks, school buses, and anything else they can get their hands on as full-time employees for GISD’s transportation department.

“Talk about a great team, these brothers work hand-in-hand on complex repairs together,” claims GISD’s Director of Transportation John Pruitt. “I see these two young men running our fine shop one day. Their work ethic and dedication to their trade is seen every day. They are coached by the Fleet Manager Dave Tisdale and the Head Mechanic Sam Salinas. Together they all make up a cohesive, well-oiled machine.”

“This has been quite an experience,” explains Salinas. “I was the youngest when I started and now I’m the oldest and it’s great to be able to show these guys some things I’ve learned over the years because they are in the same shoes I was in years ago.”

Only Salinas didn’t step right out of Ball High’s robust CTE program when he was 18 years old and didn’t have the same leg-up that students have today when entering the workforce. 

Salinas goes on to say, “The CTE courses they were taking at Ball High School and Galveston College just worked out perfectly because we were looking for mechanics and we were home-growing them right in our classrooms. This proves that what our kids are learning in our schools is actually put to use in the real world.”

“We are looking to hire another mechanic very soon and we are already interviewing GISD graduates because we know what kind of talent and work ethic they bring,” adds Pruitt. “After what we have experienced with Roy and Raul, we will always look at our own first before considering outside candidates.”

Ball High School offers automotive technologies along with 15 other pathways comprised of  more than 50 distinct courses specializing in training for some of the most in-demand jobs in today's workforce. 

“You might not know what you want to do after high school, so you have to keep your eyes open for ways to be successful,” advises Roy.  “At Ball High School, so many opportunities are presented to you and if you work hard and put your mind to it, you can do whatever you want to do.”

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