Center of attention

When Arlington voters were presented with Tarrant County’s largest-ever school bond package in 2014, they responded with an enthusiastic vote of approval to update and improve virtually every school in the district. With almost 70 percent of the electorate saying “yes” work began immediately to deliver the promised improvements.

Then-school-board-president Bowie Hogg remarked on election night that voter turnout solidified how much the “community cares.”

“It’s an overwhelming message by the community that we support public schools and we are not going to sit back and not allow our schools to be the best they can be.”

Among the ambitious projects was a proposal to develop a career and technical center that would have as its mission that of preparing students across the city for careers in diverse fields heretofore left to chance. Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos explained the purpose, “This will allow us to provide increased access and opportunities for our students in order to meet our mission to empower and engage all students to be contributing, responsible citizens reaching their maximum potential through relevant, innovative and rigorous learning experiences.”

Now we know exactly what Cavazos had in mind as the doors of the Dan Dipert Career and Technical Center have swung open and begun in earnest to deliver on the vision, meet expectations, and ensure a promising future for today’s and future generations.

Appropriately, the center honors its namesake, Dan Dipert, who is the quintessential role model for success achieved through a commitment to working hard in meeting the needs of others. Dan’s career in Arlington began in 1964 as the youth director of the First Baptist Church. In 1972 he purchased a small travel agency and built it into a multimillion-dollar travel and transportation business that is among the safest and most respected motor coach charter operators in the nation.

Somehow in the midst of Dan running a successful business, his outreach through community service is also exemplary and includes serving for two terms as trustee on the AISD Board of Trustees.

Current Board President Dr. Aaron Reich introduced him at the center’s dedication ceremony as “a Renaissance man” – an entirely fitting characterization of Dan’s devotion to the community he loves.

But Dan was quick to emphasize the importance of the facility, which is now recognized as the premier career and tech center in the state, preparing young people for immediate employment in a variety of fields upon their graduation from high school.

Professions already offering workforce dual credit programs in collaboration with Tarrant County College and the University of Texas at Arlington range from accounting to architectural to machinist to welding and more.

By extension students can prepare for careers in agriculture mechanics, horticulture, and veterinary medicine as the Agriculture Science Center takes shape in Dalworthington Gardens.

Today services available at the tech center include a variety of personal care, culinary arts, and automotive needs.

In the cosmetology department students are being prepared with the skills and knowledge required to become a licensed cosmetologist. Services offered to the public include haircuts and shampoos for $5, partial and full highlights starting at $35, manicure, polish change, eyebrow wax and facials range from $3 to $8.

Over in floral design you can get your events catered, including weddings, birthday parties, proms and special events. There are times available for yearly floral service, and greenhouse availability from October to December and in April and May.

For your vehicle, you can get your oil changed, wheels aligned, brakes adjusted, steering repaired, suspension fixed – along with other maintenance done Monday through Friday.

Preparing students with the skills and knowledge to pursue career opportunities in dining services is the discipline of the culinary program.

Services in that department include food catering for special events, party trays for pick-up, boxed lunches and a variety of other food services.

You can arrange for any of the above with a phone call to 682-867-9500, via the website at aisd.net/career-technical-center, on Twitter @aisd_ctc_ag, or through Facebook at facebook.com/aisdctc.

The future is bright, promising, and comes alive at the Dan Dipert Career and Technical Center – an awesome achievement by a community that cares.

Richard Greene served as Arlington’s mayor from 1987-1997, was appointed by President George W. Bush as Regional
Administrator to the EPA, and currently teaches in the University of Texas at Arlington’s graduate program in the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs.